Conflict in Shan State
The National League for Democracy (NLD) will meet with members of the United Nationalities Alliance (UThe Myanmar army’s East-central Regional Military Command, which oversees military operations in Shan State, has reportedly issued an order to its units to cease hostilities against the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N).
The SSA-N’s spokesperson Maj. Sai La told DVB the group was notified about the order on Thursday by the regional military command based in Kolam in southern Shan State’s Loilem district.
The Shan spokesman said the regional military command had set out three conditions to maintain the truce: SSA-N must refrain from setting up military outposts south of the highway connecting Mongnawng and Monghsu; troops from both sides operating along the Union Highway must stop harassing each other’s convoys; both sides must cease gunfire and, in particular, the artillery shelling of rear-guard outposts.
In a related issue, the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) has documented eight cases of sexual violence allegedly committed by Myanmar government troops in southern and eastern Shan State since April 2015, all in so-called “ceasefire” areas, according to a report released by the group.
“These cases reveal continuing patterns of impunity, and highlight that ongoing militarization and offensives by the Myanmar Army despite ceasefires are a key factor threatening women’s security in ethnic areas,” the report said.
The NGO claims the most recent case took place on November 5, 2015, near a village in Kehsi Township. According to the report: “A 32-year-old woman was gang-raped by about 10 soldiers while her husband was tied up under their farm hut. This took place during the current offensive by the Myanmar Army against the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N). Despite an existing bilateral ceasefire, the government has since last month deployed 20 battalions, heavy artillery, and fighter aircraft to seize SSPP/SSA-N areas, committing abuses against civilians and causing displacement of over 10,000 villagers.”
Seven earlier alleged incidents of sexual violence documented by SHRF took place in remote rural areas of southern and eastern Shan State where the Myanmar Army has continued its troop build-up despite a bilateral ceasefire with the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army-South (RCSS/SSA-South) since December 2011.