The Shan State Progress Party/ Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) say it is worried about a resumption of hostilities as the Burmese army reinforces its troop strength in the area as part of a plan to reconstruct roads.
A map shows the location where the road will be built.
According to an official from SSPP/SSA who spoke under condition of anonymity, Shan army representatives met yesterday with Brig-Gen Htet Htun, the head of Central Eastern Command, which is based in Kholam Township, Shan State. The sides discussed the road construction in SSPP/SSA territory, he said, adding that the commander said he will order troops into their areas of control whether the Shan army agrees or not.
“We, the SSPP/SSA, has been active in these areas before we signed a ceasefire agreement with the Tatmadaw [Burmese armed forces] in 1989,” he said. “This road was built by us after signing that ceasefire with them.
“They said that they would reinforce soldiers in our areas whether we agree to it or not. This could cause a conflict,” he told Shan Herald. “In 2011-12, they also attacked us.
“The way they are acting will disrupt the planned by-election in this area.”
This road in question is located 10 miles north of Monghsu Township between Loi Nai and Loi Kyo mountains.
According to a source close to Central Eastern Command, Brig-Gen Htet Htun is expert in this region. He was previously head of Military Operations Command (MOC) No 2 which is stationed in southern Shan State’s Mong Nong Township. The source said the brigadier-general has long held a strategic plan to build this road even before clashes broke out in 2011.
“He wants to start building it now, because the time is right,” said the source.
During the general election last year, the Burmese armed forces launched heavy offensives against the SSPP/SSA, including assaults on its Wan Hai Headquarters in Kesi Township.
The SSPP/SSA, or Shan State Army-North, is a member of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), a bloc comprising 12 ethnic armed organizations that opted not to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with the Thein Sein government on October 15, 2015.
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)
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