The Irrawaddy

TNLA Claims 3 Kills in Latest Clash with Rival Armed Group

Weapons and ammunition the TNLA says it seized after clashes with the RCSS over the weekend in northern Shan State.

YANGON — The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) says its soldiers killed three members of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and seized some of the rival ethnic armed group’s weapons and ammunition during two days of fighting in northern Shan State.

TNLA spokesman Colonel Tar Aike Kyaw said the two groups clashed on Saturday and Sunday, first along the border between Kyaukme and Namhsan townships — where it says the RCSS was building a new base and its three soldiers were killed — and the next day in Namtu Township.

“They tried to establish a new base in our area of control, so we attacked them to make them leave our area,” said Col. Tar Aike Kyaw.

“Some of our members were wounded, but no one was killed,” he said.

The TNLA first attacked the RCSS base in January. But is says the Myanmar Army, or Tatmadaw, attacked its soldiers to help the RCSS and drove them back.

Col. Tar Aike Kyaw said Sunday’s fighting in Namtu broke out when TNLA and RCSS soldiers confronted each other in a local village.

“We told them not to enter our area of control, but they tried to get inside,” the spokesman said.

A spokesman for the RCSS, Colonel Sai Oo, said he did not know about the fighting.

The TNLA and RCSS clashed repeatedly in northern Shan State last year, driving hundreds of villagers from their homes. Some have since returned home, but others remain in camps, mostly in Namtu.

The RCSS concentrates its forces mainly in the south of Shan State, near the Thai border. The TNLA accuses the group of deploying more of its soldiers in the north after it signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and Tatmadaw in 2015, though the RCSS says it has always had soldiers in the area.

The TNLA has not signed the ceasefire agreement and occasionally clashes with the Tatmadaw as well.