RANGOON — The News and Information department of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) issued a statement on Wednesday claiming that their troops had been targeted in airstrikes by the Burmese air force in northern Shan State.
Two TNLA soldiers were reportedly injured in the aerial attack which occurred on Wednesday morning while members of the group were on the ground destroying opium poppy fields near Man Nein village in Kutkai Township, the statement said.
The offensive allegedly involved a fighter jet and two helicopters, reinforced by Burma Army artillery.
TNLA representative Ta Barn La told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that strikes against Ta’ang troops also occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday in neighboring Namkham Township, as soldiers cleared poppy plants from the area. In each incident, he reported that Burmese troops fired up to nine explosives at the TNLA soldiers.
The Ta’ang armed group has recently been involved in clashes with the Shan State Army-South which first broke out in November but intensified earlier this month.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of Feb. 16, the conflict had displaced over 4,000 civilians. Over 3,000 people were sheltering in Kyaukme town and surrounding villages, while over 1,000 were displaced to Mong Wee village in Namkham Township, the UN agency said.