Shan Herald: Burma Army increasing patrols in resistance areas

Burma Army increasing patrols in resistance areas (click to view article)

The month’s first two clashes were fought between the Shan State Army (SSA) South and the Burma Army columns that have, since last month, increased their “territorial clearance and “territorial control” operations, according to the SSA commander Col Kherh Ngeun.

“We had instructed our units to avoid confrontation since last month,” he said. “But it only seems to have encouraged the BurmaArmy to increase its movements in our operational areas.”

The two clashes, one on 25 November and the other on 26 November, took place near the Pawn river in Mongkeung township, Loilem district. Three infantry battalions: 33, 94 and 510 suffered some casualties, though the exact number is yet to be known.

“Our troops got away without a scratch at least on the first day,” he said. “No details have been coming on the second clash yet.”

According to Kherh Ngeun, the Burmese columns have been given standing orders not to return to base without a fight. “Some units have to invent a clash, in collaboration with the local People’s Militia Forces, so they can conclude their patrols quickly,” he explained, adding that one of the clashes that was supposed to have taken place in October in southern Shan State was a forged one.

“Officers are also punished for losing weapons and battles,” he said. “This practice has led to a lot of desertions.”

SSA officers also say they could not understand why the Burma Army is bent on fighting against the SSA South, officially known as the Restoration Council of Shan State/ Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), since it had already signed a ceasefire.

More than 140 clashes have taken place between the two sides since the ceasefire was concluded on 2 December 2011. It sister organization, Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), better known as the SSA North, also claims to have fought more than 100 clashes since it signed the ceasefire on 28 January 2012.