Battles Rage in Northern Shan State Amid Peace Talks

By KLN

April 29, 2014

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A combined force of KIA’s 36th and 38th Battalion fought against a joint force of Burmese Army’s 239th Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) and Infantry units under 88th Light Infantry Division (LID) at Ying La Bum in northern Shan State on April 29 at 12 pm. A KIA source says Burmese Army troops from Mung Ya village invaded into KIA’s 4th Brigade area and attacked a KIA position at Ying La Bum. No casualties on either side have been reported in the battle that lasted about an hour.

Another battle took place on the same day between the two sides near Ying La Bum at 3:30 pm. A local source reported that at least five 81 mm mortar shells fired by Burmese government troops fell on the ground in civilian area in Nam Gut village.

The situation in Mansi Township in Kachin State remains tense after Burmese Army troops seized KIA positions and thousands of local villagers were forced to flee violence and leave their homes.

Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) source said its 478th Battalion troops launched an attack on a Burmese Army’s position at Hteinkan in Nam Kham Township on April 25 at 5:10 am. Burmese Army troops under 16th Military Operation Command (MOC-16) are currently stationed at Hteinkan post. TNLA source said that its troops launched an attack after several complaints from local residents that Burmese government troops have extorted money from them.

United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) on April 23 issued a statement saying, “We, the UNFC, strongly condemn Myanmar Tatmadaw (Myanmar/Burma Armed Forces) as its massive military offensives, since early April in the Kachin State and Northern Shan State, against the KIA, TNLA and the SSA (N) forces, assume the form of a general strategic offensive.”

Ethnic leaders have repeatedly warned against Burmese Army’s military operations in ethnic lands as the two sides continue to engage in peace talks. UNFC in its statement said, “At a time especially when negotiation is being conducted systematically by representatives of the Union Government of Myanmar/Burma and the ethnic armed resistance organizations for “Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement,” the government’s attempt to use military force for resolving problems is a thing, which should never be done, and we, the UNFC would like to warn that the action would be like breaking up into pieces the understanding and trust gained, at every step of the negotiation.”

According to the UNFC, Burmese Army’s divisional military units, Divisions 22 and 44 are left in the Karen and Mon States, and Divisions 11, 33, 55, 66, 77, 88 and 99 have been deployed in the Kachin and Northern Shan State, and those Divisions are conducting joint military operations with the local military units from North-East Command, Northern Command, 16th and 21st Military Operation Commands.