Shan Rebel Group Vows to ‘Continue Armed Struggle’ If Necessary

Shan Rebel Group

Military Intelligence soldiers search a Restoration Council of Shan State liaison office on May 6. (Photo:

The Restoration Council of Shan State this week warned that it would “continue the armed struggle” to achieve its political aims if left with no other choice.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the 56th anniversary of Shan State People’s Resistance Day, the ethnic rebel group said a recent raid by Burmese government authorities on the RCSS’s liaison office in Kengtung had “badly affected the mutual trust that has so far been achieved between the two sides.”

A group including police and Burmese Military Intelligence personnel raided one of the RCSS’s seven liaison offices on May 6, providing no specific reason for the action and temporarily detaining its office coordinator.

The Shan rebels have put the blame solely on the government for a rise in tensions between the two sides resulting from the raid. In its statement on Wednesday, the RCSS said it was not its fault “if something goes wrong with the ceasefire agreement and even the peace process,” but vowed to continue working to achieve its right to self-determination and autonomy through peaceful means.

The RCSS is one of 14 ethnic armed groups to have signed ceasefire agreements with the government since 2011, after decades of conflict.

Relations between the ethnic Shan rebels and the government were further strained this week by news that Ai Kyein, a village-level chairman for the Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD), would be prosecuted under the Unlawful Associations Act after being arrested on May 5 and allegedly beaten by the Burmese Army. Ai Kyein is being charged for alleged affiliation with the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), the RCSS’s armed wing.

Asked about the latest challenges to relations between the RCSS and the government, a special adviser to the government-affiliated Myanmar Peace Center said “Minister U Aung Min [the government’s chief peace negotiator] is discussing the matters, informed by the RCSS leaders.”

The MPC’s Hla Maung Shwe did not elaborate on the details of that dialogue. “That’s all I can say at the moment,” he said, claiming that discussing the matter with the media would affect ongoing talks with the ethnic armed groups.

Other ethnic leaders also raised questions about the RCSS liaison office raid during meetings in Rangoon this week aimed at drafting a single text for a nationwide ceasefire agreement, according to Saw Tar Doh Moo, an executive committee member for the Karen National Union (KNU).

“It is hard to say whether we [ethnic armed groups and the government Army] will engage in fighting again,” Saw Ta Doh Moo said on Friday. “But we hold the principle that we can solve the problems by peaceful means, by bringing them to the table for discussions.”

Representatives from the Burmese military said the raid on the liaison office was based on “information it had received,” according to Saw Ta Doh Moo, who added that Army commanders would not comment on whether their action proved to be justified.

“Their answer was that such incidents would occur if the liaison office performed activities beyond the boundaries,” said Saw Ta Doh Moo, referring to the basic rules and parameters laid out in ceasefire accords that liaison offices agree to follow.

The KNU leader said he was nonetheless optimistic about prospects for the peace process, and said ethnic and government leaders were working on “setting up a mechanism for solutions to the problems arising, as it is inevitable to face misunderstandings and doubts between both armed groups in any conflict-torn country.”

The RCSS could not be reached for comment on Friday.

5 Responses to Shan Rebel Group Vows to ‘Continue Armed Struggle’ If Necessary

  1. Being a rebel does not need to have a gun but it is how someone sees the government. The Myanmar regime is bullying and we are forced to stand against the regime. The Shans get bullied. So whether the Shans are carrying weapons or not they feel bitterness which make them being rebels. Ethnics are demanding legitimate things from the regime. If the regime is pushing for the real democracy in the land, peace will be there. Ethnics are not bad apples but the regime really is poisonous apple.

  2. Burmese Military’s boss Gen Min Aung Hlaing must clear his intention about peace and reconciliation with Burmese ethnic minorities group.
    I believe it’s fair to holding tight their arms until Burmese Army sincerely committed to peace agreement between Government and ethnic minorities group.

    We ethnic minority peoples are very disappointed about Burmese Army did not follow Government’s peace agreement with ethnic minorities group.

    Why Burmese Army didn’t attack on Wa Army?
    The Wa Army is most threatening armed ethnic group in Union. Wa has building up their military capacity and extending their territory in Shan State.
    Wa was given license to do everything they wanted by Burmese Generals because they can share profit from Wa Army’s trafficking business.
    Burmese Army must stop stalking on ethnic minorities group.

  3. Signing the panglong agreement was the biggest mistake ever. Churchill knew exactly what would happen to the ethnics under the crooked burmese rule. We the ethnics have been insulted and humiliated in our own houses and on our own lands.

  4. They better enter into Than Shwe’s house. The family keeps many cars without paying taxes. Is it legal?

  5. Under this Nargis constitution, no real peace and democracy will be achieved. Regime fails to achieve peace because it chooses not to. So, ethnics have no reason to lay down arms. All ethnics must join UNFC and build strong UNION Army. I repeat: No real peace abd democracy will be achieved under the Nargis constitution.

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