TNLA, MNDAA Attack Myanmar Army Base in N. Shan State

By Chit Min Tun 9 August 2019

YANGON—The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) launched a joint offensive against the headquarters of the Myanmar military’s Infantry Battalion No. 290 in northern Shan State on the evening of Aug. 8, the military (or Tatmadaw) said.

A combined force of the TNLA and MNDAA launched an artillery attack on the battalion headquarters in Tarmoenye, in Muse District’s Kutkai Township, at around 7 p.m., Brigadier-General Zaw Min Tun of the Tatmadaw True News Information Team told The Irrawaddy.

“They struck from a distance. Our side didn’t suffer any injuries,” he said.

According to Tarmoenye residents, the joint force arrived near the town on Aug. 2. It entered the town on Thursday evening and attacked the hill on which the battalion is based.

“I heard that the joint force withdrew after the two sides exchanged fire for around an hour,” said U Tin Maung Thein, chairman of a Kyaukme-based philanthropic group.

Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun said the attack on the military headquarters during the Tatmadaw’s unilaterally declared ceasefire period was an indication that the two ethnic armed groups do not want peace.

“We have declared a ceasefire in order for the peace process to be successful. They launched an attack on a military headquarters because they do not want peace,” he said.

The military declared a four-month unilateral ceasefire in five areas of military operation from Dec. 21, 2018 to April 30, 2019. It extended the ceasefire from May 1 to June 30, and a second extension is due to expire on Aug. 31.

The Irrawaddy was unable to obtain comments from spokespersons of the TNLA about the clash.

The TNLA’s information office issued a press release saying it clashed with the Myanmar Army near Taemoenye from 7.25 to 7.50 p.m on Thursday, though it named the unit it clashed with as Light Infantry Battalion No. 109 under the Tatmadaw’s Division No. 99.

There were 10 clashes between the Tatmadaw and the TNLA from Aug. 3-9, the ethnic armed group said in the press release.

The TNLA and the MNDAA, together with the Kachin Independence Army and the Arakan Army, have formed a military bloc known as the Northern Alliance. All four are members of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee led by United Wa State Army.

All four members of the Northern Alliance are holding talks with the government on signing bilateral ceasefire agreements.

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