Clashes Reported Between Govt Troops, TNLA in Namhsan Township

By Lawi Weng 29 February 2016

RANGOON — Fighting broke out in Namhsan Township, northern Shan State, on Sunday between the Burma Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), according to the latter group.

Last week, the TNLA reported that hundreds of Burma Army troops had been deployed to areas of northern Shan State where the Ta’ang armed force operates.

On Sunday, two separate clashes were reported in the Namhsan area, with the TNLA claiming five Burma Army soldiers were killed.

“One clash broke out in the morning for one hour and the second clash at noon,” said a report from the armed group, which did not cite casualties on the TNLA side.

Fierce fighting took place between the TNLA and the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) earlier this month in Kyaukme and Namkham townships, leaving upwards of 4,000 civilians displaced. Clashes first broke out last November, one month after eight armed groups signed the so-called nationwide ceasefire agreement with the central government.

The SSA-S was among the signatories while the TNLA was sidelined by Naypyidaw from the negotiations.

Fresh fighting between the two sides broke out in Kyaukme Township on Monday, according to the TNLA.

The Burma Army has reportedly called on both sides to return to their “designated” territories, with an article in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar on Feb. 24, quoting the defense ministry, asserting that army operations were underway in Shan State.

Burma Army troops have been operating across several townships in northern Shan State, according to the TNLA’s general secretary Tar Bong Kyaw, including Kyaukme, Kutkai, Namtu, Manton, Namhsan and Mongmit townships.

The TNLA has repeatedly accused the SSA-S of cooperating with the Burma Army—allegations refuted by the Shan force.

“They helped the RCSS to fight us,” said Tar Bong Kyaw, referring to the SSA-S by their political wing, the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS). “But when a lot of fighting broke out and many people had to leave from the area, [government] troops came into our area claiming to maintain peace.”

“There is a political transition in our country and we will try to avoid fighting as much as we can,” he added.