Locals Flee Fresh Clashes in Shan State

By Chit Min Tun 8 May 2018

YANGON — Nearly 600 locals from Namtu Township, northern Shan State, have been displaced by clashes between the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).

Clashes broke out between the SSA-N and the TNLA on May 4 near Man Sa Awng village in Namtu and have since then forced more than 500 residents from several nearby villages, said administrator of Mong Yin village U Tun Hline.

“Villagers from two more villages fled to us [on Sunday]. And we accommodated them at monasteries,” said U Tun Hline.

A total of 583 villagers are taking shelter at monasteries in Mong Yin and Weik Nan villages. Displaced persons are in need of clothing, food and healthcare.

“Locals from Na Pein and Lauk Long have fled out of fear following the clashes in Man Sa Awng,” said U San Thein, the administrator of Weik Nan village.

Two locals from Man Sa Awng village were injured and sent to Lashio Hospital on May 4 after artillery shells fell on the village, he said.

Clashes continued on Sunday in Man Sa Awng village and military tensions remain high in the area, said locals of Mong Yin.

“The situation is not good. We could hear gunfire from Man Sa Awng, as our village is only five furlongs from there,” said U Tun Hline.

Locals claimed that Light Infantry Battalion No. 324 of the Tatmadaw stationed just one and a half miles from Man Sa Awng village brought in reinforcements.

The Irrawaddy was unable to obtain comments from either of the ethnic armed organizations regarding the clashes.

The fighting followed a meeting between the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), the political wing of the SSA-N, and the government Peace Commission from May 1 to 2 regarding the nationwide ceasefire agreement.

The SSPP and TNLA are the members of the ethnic alliance the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee led by the United Wa State Army (UWSA).

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.