Hundreds Displaced by Latest Fighting Between Rival Armed Groups in Shan State

By Chit Min Tun 14 March 2018

YANGON — More than 800 residents of Namtu, Kyaukme and Namhsan townships in northern Shan State have been displaced by recent fighting between the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).

Nang Sen Nom, a Shan State lawmaker representing Namtu Township, said more than 330 residents from several villages in her constituency had fled the latest fighting, which started Saturday, and were taking shelter at monasteries in the area.

“More than 100 are taking shelter at the Manhong Monastery in Mansan Village and another 200 are at the Poppa Yon Monastery,” she said.

On Monday, nearly 500 residents of Na Sai and Pan Law villages fled to another village after RCSS and TNLA soldiers clashed nearby.

Seventy more villagers from the Na Sai village tract were forced to leave their homes on Tuesday as the clashes continued, Nang Sen Nom said.

Fighting was taking place near the village of Bein Tun, in Namtu Township, and along the border between Kyaukme and Namhsan townships, TNLA information officer Mai Ai Kyaw told the Irrawaddy on Tuesday.

“There were skirmishes on March 13, but I don’t know the details,” Mai Ai Kyaw said.

RCSS Lieutenant Colonel Sai Oo declined to comment on the fighting.

Mai Ai Kyaw said the TNLA and RCSS had previously agreed to hold talks but were yet to set a date.

“We sent them [the RCSS] a letter to hold talks some time last week, but they haven’t replied yet,” said Mai Ai Kyaw.

Nang Sen Nom said the displaced people were in need of food, clothes and shelter.

The RCSS is one of the original eight signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. The TNLA has not signed the agreement and is considered an insurgent group by the Myanmar army.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.