Burma

Ta’ang Armed Group Attacks Myanmar Military Convoy in Shan State

By LAE LAE 29 May 2020

YANGON—Within hours after the Arakan Army (AA) launched attacks on a border guard police outpost in Rakhine State early Friday morning, its ally the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) intercepted a military convoy in northern Shan State, according to Myanmar military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun.

The TNLA attacked the military convoy en route from Muse with remote-detonated mines near Namkut Village near the Union Highway in Kutkai Township, Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun confirmed to The Irrawaddy.

Ta’ang National Liberation Army soldiers stand near a Myanmar military truck after the fighting early on Friday. / PSLF / Ta’ang National Liberation Army

“The military convoy on patrol between Kutkai and Nam Phet Ka was attacked with remote-detonated mines near Namkut Village, according to the latest information. There was some damage to trucks but no injuries or deaths. They carried out the mine attacks on the Union Highway,” Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun told The Irrawaddy.

On Friday around noon, the TNLA Information Department shared photos online of the damaged military trucks and weapons it allegedly seized from the Myanmar military.

“It appeared that Palaung [TNLA] troops were watching as the soldiers came down. The clash happened near the village. We heard gunshots from heavy and small arms. We don’t know if anyone was hit. We dare not go outside,” a local resident of Namkut Village told The Irrawaddy on condition of anonymity.

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army said it seized weapons from trucks belonging to the Myanmar military. / PSLF / Ta’ang National Liberation Army

The clash between the TNLA and the Myanmar military lasted for an hour-and-a-half, according to TNLA Information Officer Major Mai Aik Kyaw. But he said he did not know further details.

“I heard that as our troops crossed the road, they encountered Myanmar military troops who were going down from Muse and there was shooting. I still don’t know the damage,” said Maj. Mai Aik Kyaw.

The fighting took place on the highway that forms part of a major border trade route between Myanmar and China. Passenger and cargo vehicles on the highway at the time of the fighting took shelter in Namkut Village, said a local villager.

On May 9, the Myanmar military announced a unilateral ceasefire across Myanmar except for places where terrorist organizations are based. Both the Myanmar government and the Myanmar military have declared the AA to be a terrorist organization.

The military alliance of the AA, the TNLA and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, collectively known as the Brotherhood Alliance, had already announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 3. However, in a joint statement issued the following day, the armed groups said they would cooperate as necessary in response to political and military developments in the country.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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