Burma Army Launches Midnight Attack on SSA-N Headquarters

By Nang Seng Nom 29 October 2015

WAN HAI VILLAGE, Shan State — The military barraged the Wan Hai village headquarters of the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) shortly after midnight on Thursday, with more locals fleeing the area overnight.

No casualties were reported, but a house and car were damaged during the mortar bombardment, according to SSA-N spokesman Lt-Col Sai La.

“Yesterday, we managed to reclaim an important stronghold,” he told The Irrawaddy, referring to SSA-N efforts on Wednesday to capture the nearby Kong Lin hill. “Perhaps because (the military) are angry with that, they attacked us at midnight with mortar fire. They fired eight shells and a house in the village center was hit, while the rest fell into farms.”

Sai La said his forces had sent a letter to Dr Sai Mauk Kham, chairman of the government’s Union Peacemaking Working Committee, asking him to intervene to end the conflict. The SSA-N has yet to receive a response, and Sai La said he was concerned that clashes that began at the beginning of October would escalate further.

Most villagers in Wan Hai have fled to nearby Pan Lauk village after the attack. Nan Kham, a Wan Hai local, said the SSA-N had asked villagers to leave their homes in anticipation of further attacks.

Renewed clashes broke out between the Shan State Army-North and government troops on Oct. 6, after the ethnic armed group rejected a request to vacate their strategic port base in Tar San Pu village. More than 3,000 people are believed to have fled their homes in Kyethi and Mong Hsu townships in the following weeks.

The Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), the political wing of the SSA-N, signed a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the government in February 2012. In the years since, there have been hundreds of minor skirmishes between the military and the insurgent group. The two sides have clashes 15 times in October and the SSA-N have surrendered at least 10 strongholds over the course of the current military offensive.