At Least 11 Junta Troops Killed as Ethnic Alliance Attacks in Northern Shan

By The Irrawaddy 31 May 2021

At least 11 junta soldiers, including a deputy battalion commander, were killed when the Brotherhood Alliance of three ethnic armed groups launched a predawn attack at around 1 a.m. on the Myanmar military’s Light Infantry Battalion No. 123 in Namt Phat Kar, Kutkai Township in northern Shan State on Monday.

The tripartite military alliance, which groups the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Arakan Army (AA), attacked the junta troops inside the electricity office of Namt Phat Kar Village, according to local residents.

The fighting continued until 4 a.m., after which the troops of the Brotherhood Alliance left with ammunition seized from the junta soldiers.

Ammunition seized from junta soldiers in the attack in Kutkai, Shan State.

An officer from the Brotherhood Alliance confirmed the fighting, but refused to provide details about the clash or the seized ammunition. The Kokang News Agency reported that the Brotherhood Alliance seized five rifles and over 100 rounds of ammunition from the junta soldiers, and published photos of what it said were the seized arms.

The news agency also quoted Brotherhood Alliance fighters as claiming the junta soldiers had used methamphetamines.

“We started to hear gunfire at around 00.00 a.m. and it continued until 4 a.m. The attack was targeted at the military unit in the electricity office compound. There have been clashes in Kutkai for some days. A female villager of Namt Phat Kar was injured in one of her arms. Some houses were slightly damaged,” said a member of the Humanitarian Strategic Team – Northern Shan State (HST-NSS).

Ammunition seized from junta soldiers in the attack in Kutkai, Shan State.

The Brotherhood Alliance was in the process of signing bilateral ceasefire agreements with the Myanmar military when the latter staged a coup on Feb. 1. The talks have collapsed since the coup.

While negotiating the bilateral ceasefire agreements, the two sides announced and extended unilateral ceasefires from December 2018 through March this year.

The alliance’s decision in March to extend its unilateral ceasefire for one month drew widespread criticism among the Myanmar public, as the military regime has used lethal violence against anti-regime protesters.

The alliance has not extended the ceasefire since April. On April 10, it reportedly attacked a police outpost in the village of Naung Mon in Lashio in northern Shan State. Fourteen police officers were killed in the attack, but the alliance did not claim responsibility.

Though the alliance has not extended its ceasefire, the military regime has extended its unilateral ceasefire monthly. On Sunday, it extended it again until June 30.

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