Following a statement by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), claiming that it had seized bases belonging to the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), the RCSS has responded, denying the claim and labeling it “fake news.”
The TNLA’s News and Information Department published on its Facebook page on November 24 a report that it had captured RCSS/SSA mountain outposts in Mantong Township in the Palaung [Ta’ang] Self-Administered Zone.
“There were nine remaining RCSS outposts in Montong,” read the TNLA statement. “At about 6pm on November 23, those remaining bases were captured, including the outposts at Mawnoe, Namhai and Mawni.”
But according to Lt-Col Sai Nguen, the RCSS/SSA spokesperson, the information published by the TNLA was incorrect. He said that his group had not been active in that area for a long time, and that no fighting was currently taking place.
“It’s fake news,” he said. “How can our group fight with them when we are no longer active in the area?”
The Shan rebel spokesman added: “We moved out of that area because we wanted to avoid confrontations with them [TNLA].”
Following a series of clashes between two ethnic militias, other armed groups have urged them to hold talks and find peaceful ways to end the fighting. However, no such meeting has yet been held.
Clashes between the RCSS/SSA and the TNLA (also referred to as the Palaung Army) first broke out in November 2015, only a month after eight ethnic armed groups including the RCSS/SSA signed a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the Burmese government. The TNLA was excluded from the accord by Naypyidaw.
Earlier this week, the TNLA, in a joint operation alongside its allies the Arakan Army (AA), Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), launched offensives against Burmese government forces in northern parts of Shan State, including Muse, Namkham and Kutkai townships.
“As they [TNLA] are currently engaged against the Burmese army, it is not true to say that they are fighting with us,” said the RCSS/SSA Peace Team Secretary Lt-Col Sai Nguen. “They cannot launch an offensive against us at the same time.”
Shan Herald attempted to reach TNLA for comment, but has yet to receive a response.
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