A unit of the Burma Army that has been involved in a series of clashes with the Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), stands accused of arbitrarily arresting civilians in northern Shan State’s Hsipaw Township on the morning of Wednesday May 18th, according to reports from the area.
Sai Kham, a resident of Nam Ma Village in Hsipaw Township where the clashes took place, said that three villagers were arrested while they were returning home from work Wednesday morning.
“The villagers were going back home at about 8.00 AM when they heard the gun fire,” he said. “The Burma troops then ordered the women to go back to their farm and arrested three men who were with them,” he explained.
The three detained individuals have been identified as Sai Au Aung, 35; Sai Sue, 21; and Sai La, 32. The army unit involved is said to be under the North Eastern Command in Lashio Township.
According to an official from the SSPP/SSA stationed in Hsipaw Township, the Burma Army launched their offensive, which involved the use of jets, on SSPP/SSA positions in the area beginning at about 8.00 AM.
“They attacked our bases near Wan Long, Peng Sai and Pa Teb village,” he said. “The fighting is still on-going,” he added.
Because of the recent wave of heavy fighting between the two groups over 300 villagers from Wan Long village have fled to Hsipaw and Lashio Townships.
An SSPP/SSA official from the group’s Wan Hai headquarters, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that no notice had been given by the Burma Army prior to the attack.
“They did not inform about their movement into our controlled area,” he said. “We saw their troops yesterday and today they attacked us.”
The SSPP/SSA is a member of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC). The SSPP/SSA did not sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the Thein Sein government on October 15 last year.
BY SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)
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