Rights vi­o­la­tions al­leged as Tat­madaw, TNLA fight­ing con­tin­ues in north­ern Shan State

The Myanmar Times - - News - THU THU AUNG thuthuaung@mm­times.com

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.

Photo: AFP

Ta’ang Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion Army solid­ers stand guard out­side a village in Man­tong town­ship in 2014.

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