Rights violations alleged as Tatmadaw, TNLA fighting continues in northern Shan State
CLASHES between the military and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army have been ongoing since October 29, with human rights violations linked to the hostilities also reported.
The TNLA said yesterday that eight villagers were “tortured” in Man San village, Namkham township, by Tatmadaw soldiers during interrogations, with the ethnic armed group uploading photos of the alleged victims showing their wounds.
U Myint Kyaw, vice chair of the Ta’ang National Party, told The Myanmar Times that the head of Man San village, Aik Kyan, debriefed the party yesterday regarding the alleged torture.
“Aik Kyan told me, ‘Military Brigade 33 came to the village on November 9 at 8pm and they asked [me] about landmines in the area.’ They accused Aik Kyan of planting landmines and they held a knife to his throat during the interrogation. I saw his scars today when he came,” U Myint Kyaw said yesterday.
Elsewhere in Namkham township, the military-run news outlet Myawady reported that the TNLA had used heavy weaponry on November 11, causing injury to a nine-year-old boy in Mongwee village who was subsequently hospitalised.
“The TNLA didn’t agree to drop its weapons for peace talks. There’s no ceasefire agreement,” said U Zaw Htay, deputy director general for the President’s Office, who added that the government was endeavouring earnestly to bring all ethnic armed groups into the peace process.
“Clashes are happening because of TNLA activities in the area, such as they are extorting money from the locals,” he said.
Rumours spreading on social media also claimed that seven villagers from Nangkhay village in Namhsan township were detained by the TNLA on November 11.
U Aung Khin, chair of the Ta’ang Cultural and Literature Organisation in Namhsan, said he could not confirm the alleged detentions.
“I have heard that there is fighting between two armed groups, but I can’t confirm the case of the detained villagers. That news hasn’t been reported to the organisation ... The fighting is happening far away from the town,” he said.
On October 30, four civilians were injured by heavy weapons fire in Homein village, Namhsan township, in an incident that the Tatmadaw also blamed on the TNLA.
The Myanmar Times made several unsuccessful attempts to contact spokespeople for the military and the TNLA.
U Zaw Htay said it was the Tatmadaw’s responsibility to protect civilians in conflict zones.
More than 20 clashes were reported over the past two weeks across Namkham, Namhsan, Kutkai, Mine Ton/Mong Ton and Kyaukme townships.
Sai Htun Nyan (Shan Nationalities League for Democracy; Kyaukme), a Shan State MP, said, “There were some clashes in the Kyaukme area between armed groups but there are not yet any reports of displacement.”
Fighting between the Tatmadaw and the TNLA claimed the lives of five government troops on November 5, Myawady reported last week.
The TNLA, a non-signatory to the nationwide ceasefire agreement, was also engaged in hostilities with the Restoration Council of Shan State, an NCA signatory, in November 2015 in northern Shan State.
Ta’ang National Liberation Army soliders stand guard outside a village in Mantong township in 2014.