Three Children Reported Injured After Burma Army, TNLA Clash

By Lawi Weng 25 January 2016

RANGOON — Three children were wounded by an artillery shell in northern Shan State’s Namhsan Township on Saturday, local sources said, during a clash between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and government troops.

Ba Kyaw, of the Ta’ang Literature and Culture Association in Namhsan, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that three children from one family, aged seven, 10 and 12, were injured when an artillery shell landed on their house in Namhsan town during clashes in the area. It was unclear which side had fired the shell.

“They were hit by the explosion,” said Ba Kyaw, who described the fighting as a rare occurrence in the town. “Many of us were afraid.”

TNLA troops reported that they attacked a Burma Army base of Light Infantry Division 77 just after midnight on January 23. They allegedly exchanged fire for 30 minutes.

Tar Bong Kyaw, TNLA general secretary, told The Irrawaddy last year that increased aggression from the Burma Army could lead the armed group to consider a more offensive strategy.

“We will change our military tactics if they chase our troops into the jungle,” he said in October. “We will attack their base in the town instead of letting them come to fight us.”

The TNLA have recently accused Burma Army troops of partnering with soldiers from the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) and jointly attacking them, a charge which the SSA-S leadership denies.

Since November, clashes between the TNLA and the SSA-S have reportedly occurred in several northern Shan State townships, including Namkham and Manton. Both groups have traded blame over the cause of the fighting.

The SSA-S was one of eight armed groups to sign a so-called nationwide ceasefire agreement with the government in October, while the TNLA was one of three armed groups excluded from signing. Several major ethnic armed organizations opted out of the agreement on the basis that it lacked inclusivity.