Myanmar Army Clashes With SSA-S in Shan State

By Kyaw Kha 17 July 2017

YANGON — The Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), the armed wing of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), a signatory group of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), clashed with the Myanmar Army on Friday in Shan State’s Hopong Township.

Light Infantry Battalion No. 249 and SSA-S troops based in the area battled near the village of Hai Khai on Friday afternoon, said Lt-Col Sai Ngai, a spokesperson of the RCSS/SSA-S. Both sides suffered injuries but no fatalities, he added, citing ground reports.

“According to the bilateral agreement, and the NCA, government troops have to inform us in advance if they are to come into our territory. But as they came in without prior notice, there was an engagement,” Lt-Col Sai Ngai told The Irrawaddy.

The government and ethnic armed groups have agreed that each party must inform the other prior to crossing the other’s controlled areas, according to the NCA.

The RCSS has also reported the case to the Shan State Ceasefire Monitoring Joint Committee, he said.

Civilian representative Khun Soe Htun Aung said he was unaware of the details of the clashes, but added that previous engagements happened mostly because there is no clear line of demarcation between the sides.

“If there is no line of demarcation, it is difficult for us to intervene,” he told The Irrawaddy.

The Irrawaddy was unable to reach the Myanmar Army for comment. The army did not release a statement about the clash.

The RCSS/SSA-S, one of eight signatories of the NCA, has had frequent clashes with Myanmar Army troops since signing the ceasefire with the U Thein Sein government on October 15, 2015.

There were skirmishes between the two forces in March and April. So far, ceasefire joint monitoring committees at national and state levels have not been able to address the problem.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.