Election 2020

Shan Rebels Fire on Govt Administrators Delivering Ballot Papers

By Nan Lwin Hnint Pwint 28 October 2020

Yangon— Langkho District General Administration Department staff came under fire after preparing for voting in Mongpan Township in southern Shan State on Tuesday with the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) saying it was an accident.

RCSS spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Sai Ohm Khur told The Irrawaddy: “They informed the liaison office about the journey. The incident happened because they traveled before the liaison office was able to inform the frontline commanders. Troops on the road mistakenly fired as the vehicles arrived unexpectedly.”

There has been no recent tension with Myanmar’s military where the shooting took place but the RCSS has designated it as a frontline and deployed extra troops due to instability.

Two vehicles were carrying 13 people after taking ballot papers and voting equipment to remote polling stations. The district administrator and a clerk were injured in the shooting and treated at Sao Sun Tun Hospital in Taunggyi.

The administrator reportedly informed the RCSS liaison office two days ahead of the journey.

The RCSS spokesman said: “It was not a deliberate instruction from headquarters. Both sides were at fault and we will punish our members.”

He did not give further details.

On Sept. 1, the armed group announced that government officials and political parties must give notice before entering RCSS territory ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.

U Than Kyaw, chairman of the Langkho Election Sub-Commission, told The Irrawaddy: “The officials had transported ballot papers and polling station equipment and they were shot at on their return. The district administrator was injured in his thigh and his clerk was hit in his shin and fingers.”

Mongpan is peaceful but armed groups control areas around 16km outside the town, he said.

“I am worried about the election and I don’t know yet how the authorities will manage voting,” U Than Kyaw said.

The RCSS signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in October 2015 and has engaged in political talks. However, regular clashes still take place with Myanmar’s military over territorial disputes with at least 20 clashes reported in Kyaukme Township so far this month.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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