Namhsan Locals Flee Myanmar Army Arrests

By Htun Htun 29 June 2017

YANGON — Some 200 people from Manlan village in northern Shan State’s Namhsan Township have fled to Lashio Township amid claims the Myanmar Army are interrogating and arresting locals for alleged connections with the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).

A local man died during questioning by the Myanmar Army, according to one resident who asked for anonymity, adding that at least seven people had been arrested.

Fierce clashes between the Myanmar Army and the TNLA in Namhsan have taken place over the past week. Many Manlan residents have sought shelter in Buddhist monasteries and their relatives’ houses in Lashio.

Two locals in Peinhwe village, Kutkai Township, were killed by artillery fire on June 26 – for which the two sides have blamed each other.

The office of the Myanmar Army chief released a statement on June 27 saying it suffered casualties in five clashes from June 23-26, although it did not give a number. Four bodies reportedly from the TNLA and ammunition were recovered, it added.

The Myanmar Army took control of a TNLA training base about 2,000 kilometers northeast of Manlan on June 21, seizing medicine, TNLA uniforms, and homemade bombs, according to its statement.

The TNLA has claimed that the base was a school specializing in basic health and the empowerment of women. The ethnic armed group confirmed frequent clashes recently between the two forces, citing two battles on June 27 alone.

Three journalists including The Irrawaddy’s Lawi Weng, also known as U Thein Zaw, were arrested on the road between Namhsan and Lashio townships by the Myanmar Army on June 26 after covering a drug-burning event organized by the TNLA.

They were charged under Article 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act on Wednesday and were remanded to Hsipaw Prison.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.