Villagers Flee Their Homes After Myanmar’s Military Clashes with TNLA

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 26 November 2020

Yangon – Nearly 1,000 people in Mandalay Region’s Mogoke Township have left their villages due to clashes this week between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Myanmar’s military.

The clashes have occurred about 11km north of Mogoke since Tuesday evening.

U Hla Moe Oo, Mogoke Township’s administrator, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that nearly 1,000 villagers are sheltering at monasteries, churches and community halls and with relatives.

He said the authorities are collecting the names of displaced people.

U Aung Naing, the National League for Democracy’s Lower House lawmaker for the township, said the residents of Kyaukwar, Chaunggyi and Manar villages north of Mogoke have fled their homes.

Displaced villagers take shelter at a Mogoke community hall. / Supplied

“We want peace. The people need to live peacefully,” he said.  “Clashes make trouble for the IDPs [internally displaced people] but also a burden for the people who assist them.”

Myanmar’s military spokesman, Major General Zaw Min Tun, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that fighting broke out between about 30 TNLA troops and a military battalion during an ambush about 2km north of the town. “Some of our soldiers were killed and injured,” he said.

Residents of Mogoke reported hearing gunfire.

Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun said the TNLA has been recruiting and taking a grip on the area since 2019.

The TNLA confirmed the clash had occurred on Tuesday night.

Residents reported that some fighting continued until Wednesday noon but the violence had subsequently ended.

The TNLA, based in northern Shan State, is actively fighting Myanmar’s army and is a member of the Northern Alliance, which has engaged in peace negotiations with the government.

The TNLA has not signed a ceasefire with Myanmar’s authorities.