Two Northern Alliance Members Reportedly Clash in Shan State

By Lawi Weng 6 December 2017

Clashes broke out on Tuesday night between members of the Northern Alliance armed groups the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) in Namtu Township, according to local sources.

Two army officers from the SSA-N, the armed wing of the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), told The Irrawaddy that fighting continued throughout the night.

“We heard our troops clashed with the TNLA, but we do not yet know the exact reason why,” said Col Sai Su and Col Sai Phone Han from the SSA-N.

“We will provide detailed information when we get the ground report,” said Col Sai Su.

The clash broke out around 9 p.m. near Mong Yin, where TNLA troops came to launch an anti-drug campaign, according to local sources in Namtu town.

Shan and Palaung (Ta’ang) people live in Mong Yin, but the majority are Shan, according to Tar Hla Kyaw, a resident in Namtu.

“We heard that the Shan disliked that the Palaung came to launch an anti-drug campaign,” said Tar Hla Kyaw.

Locals say that tension escalated over the past few days leading to the clash.

However, the TNLA’s Information Department issued a statement that fighting broke out between the TNLA and the Myanmar Army in the Mong Yin area but did not mention fighting between the two Northern Alliance members.

The TNLA report stated that fighting broke out at 10 a.m. in Mong Yin between the TNLA and Infantry Battalion 344 of the Myanmar Army.

Brig-Gen Tar Phone Kyaw of the TNLA told The Irrawaddy that he did not hear about clashes between his troops and the SSA-N.

The TNLA and SSPP are both members of the Northern Alliance bloc. They have joint forces in northern Shan but ground troops occasionally clash due to territory disputes.

The TNLA and SSPP have not signed nationwide ceasefire agreement yet. The two groups have had numerous clashes with the Myanmar Army in northern Shan State.