RCSS/SSA-S Clashes with Burma Army
By Kyaw Kha 6 April 2017
RANGOON — The Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), the armed wing of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), a signatory group of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), clashed with the Burma Army on Wednesday afternoon in Panglong in southern Shan State.
The clash broke out between SSA-S troops and the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Battalion No. 246 at 12 p.m. near Nam Hsai village, around 10 miles north of Panglong, and lasted for half an hour, Lt-Col Sai Ngai, a RCAA/SSA spokesperson told The Irrawaddy.
“Clashes broke out after about 60 Burma Army troops entered our area without prior notice,” he told The Irrawaddy.
The SSA-S did not sustain any casualties or injuries, and there were no civilian casualties or injuries, he added.
The Irrawaddy called but was unable to obtain a comment from Maj-Gen Aung Ye Win, director of the Directorate of Public Relations and Psychological Warfare under the Ministry of Defense.
The RCSS/SSA-S has reported the clash to the state-level joint ceasefire monitoring committee, said the lieutenant colonel.
According to the NCA, the government and ethnic armed groups have agreed that each party must inform the other prior to crossing the other’s controlled areas, he added, blaming the Burma Army for the lack of prior notice.
“This is our area, and the Burma Army knows that. According to the ceasefire agreement, they should have informed us in advance if they were going to enter,” the lieutenant colonel said.
Dr. Min Zaw Oo, leader of the technical group of the Union-level Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee, said he received the report of the clash and had asked both sides for further details.
“This is related to troop deployment. Unless and until that is settled, there will still be clashes. In moving troops from one place to another, it is natural that they open fire in encounters with the other side. This problem will be solved only when the two sides reach an agreement over the deployment of troops,” Dr. Min Zaw Oo told The Irrawaddy.
Although the RCSS/SSA-S has signed the NCA with the government, there have been sporadic clashes with Burma Army troops due to deployment problems. On March 25, there was a skirmish between the two sides in Mongping Township.
There was also a skirmish between the two sides in Hsipaw Township in northern Shan State on March 7, and the joint ceasefire monitoring committees at the Union and state levels have not yet finished discussing it, said Dr. Min Zaw Oo.
The RCSS/SSA-S signed the NCA along with seven other ethnic armed groups on Oct. 15, 2015.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.