Four days of clashes re­ported near Kyaukme

The Myanmar Times - - News - THU THU AUNG thuthuaung@mm­

IN an­other in­stance of es­ca­lat­ing clashes around the coun­try, yes­ter­day morn­ing marked the fourth day of re­newed hos­til­i­ties be­tween the Tat­madaw and the Ta’ang Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion Army in north­ern Shan State.

The skir­mish has so far been con­tained to a re­mote area near Par Hlaing vil­lage in Kyaukme town­ship, but has not been close enough to civil­ian homes to dis­place any­one, ac­cord­ing to an MP and a TNLA spokesper­son.

“The fight­ing started on Oc­to­ber 14. I got in­for­ma­tion to­day that the fight­ing is still go­ing on. A he­li­copter came and bombed the area,” said Tar Pan Hla, a spokesper­son for the TNLA.

Sai Tun Aung, a Pyithu Hlut­taw MP for Kyaukme town­ship, said that the re­cent out­break of fight­ing has not lead to any IDPs.

“Par Hlaing is a moun­tain­ous area, a lit­tle far away from the cen­tre of Kyaukme. When I asked the vil­lagers from that area on mar­ket day about the fight­ing, they said two troops ex­changed fire, but not in the civil­ian area. They were also not sure what the cause of the fight­ing was,” he said.

Clashes be­tween the TNLA and the Tat­madaw have also been re­ported at out­posts in Mongn­gawt in Kyaukme town­ship and in Khun Kha, Momeik/ Mong Mit town­ship over the past four days.

“Af­ter the 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence, the Tat­madaw be­gan in­creas­ing their of­fen­sives into the eth­nic ar­eas, in­clud­ing in Kachin, Kayin and Shan states,” said Tar Pan Hla.

The TNLA was one of three groups not in at­ten­dance at the con­fer­ence, as they re­fused to abide by a pre­con­di­tion to dis­arm.

In Au­gust, in the lead-up to the con­fer­ence, the Tat­madaw had de­manded that the three groups mak­ing up the “north­ern al­liance” hand over their weapons to a trusted third party be­fore at­tend­ing.

The TNLA is not a sig­na­tory to the na­tion­wide cease­fire agree­ment, and was side­lined from the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment’s peace ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to Ta’ang hu­man rights groups, in the wake of the con­fer­ence north­ern Shan State has seen a spate of hu­man rights abuses along with the uptick in fight­ing. Kachin, Karen, Chin, Kayah and Shan youth groups, along with eth­nic politi­cians and lo­cal CSOs, have de­manded an im­me­di­ate end to the hos­til­i­ties.

At the same time as it fights the Tat­madaw around Kyaukme, the TNLA is also in­volved in a clash with the Restora­tion Coun­cil of Shan State near a gas pipe­line con­nect­ing Man­ton and Namtu town­ships. Ear­lier this year, the TNLA ac­cused the RCSS of team­ing up with the Tat­madaw to wage large-scale of­fen­sives with thou­sands of troops de­ployed in the Kyaukme and Nawng­cho ar­eas of north­west Shan State.

The Ta’ang Na­tional Party has tried, so far with­out suc­cess, to bro­ker a peace deal be­tween the RCSS and the TNLA in Shan State.

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