One Civilian Killed After TNLA, Govt Troops Clash

By Lawi Weng 18 August 2014

RANGOON — One civilian was shot dead and another hospitalized with a gunshot wound following a clash between government troops and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) on Monday morning in northern Shan State, according to the ethnic rebel group.

The two civilians were fired upon while walking in the area shortly after the clash took place in Namkham Township, said TNLA spokesperson Mai Aie Kyaw, who claimed that the Burmese Army suffered 10 casualties in the preceding fighting. Nyi Nai Jar was killed and Yai Tun Than was admitted to the hospital in the border town of Muse, he said, accusing the government’s Infantry Division 88 of killing the men.

The TNLA spokesperson said troops from the two sides faced off for 15 minutes in Namkham Township’s Mansep-Oilaw village. Fighting broke out when the two armed groups met along a road while traveling about 10 miles south of the town of Namkham.

“The fighting stopped when our troops withdrew after 15 minutes. Our ground troops reported that 10 troops from Infantry Division 88 were killed and wounded,” said Mai Aie Kyaw.

The rebel spokesperson said TNLA troops also reported another clash on Sunday night in Kyauk Mae Township, which claimed the lives of two government soldiers.

The Burmese Army continues to move troops in the area, which the ethnic Palaung armed group lays claim to, according to Mai Aie Kyaw. Fighting has been less frequent this month compared with July, he said, when the TNLA reported clashes every week.

The TNLA and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) are the only two major ethnic armed groups that have not signed ceasefires with the Burmese government. Hostilities have been exchanged regularly over the last several months between government troops and ethnic rebel fighters in northern Shan and Kachin states.

Peace talks are ongoing between ethnic armed groups and the Burmese government, which is seeking to have a nationwide ceasefire agreement signed in October. Negotiations have been held up by a number of sticking points, including matters related to troop repositioning and a code of conduct, the latter of which rebel groups are pushing as a means to reduce clashes.