Clashes Break Out in Lashio On First Day of Tatmadaw’s Unilateral Ceasefire Extension

 ‘Even though they announced a unilateral ceasefire, there is no change on the battlefield,’ a TNLA spokesperson says.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Fighting occurred between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Burma Army on the first day of the Tatmdaw’s second extension to its unilateral ceasefire in northern Burma, the TNLA said.

Maj Mai Aik Kyaw, who is in charge of the TNLA’s information department, confirmed to NMG that the clashes happened in the Loi Leng mountain range in Lashio Township on Monday morning.

“Clashes broke out at around 5:30 a.m. [and lasted] until 6:30 a.m. Military columns from the Burma Army climbed to our place on the mountain range. Then the two forces clashed on the mountain range,” Maj Mai Aik Kyaw said. “Even though they announced a unilateral ceasefire, there is no change on the battlefield. They prepared for military action and they have carried out a military offensive against us.”

The military column in question in the July 1 clash reportedly came from Loi Ho Hsur and included soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 368 and Military Operation Command 10.

The Office of Commander-in-Chief announced a two-month extension of the military’s unilateral ceasefire in five command regions on June 30, lasting from July 1 until the end of August.

“Even though they announced a unilateral ceasefire, clashes have not stopped in our area. There were at least 20 clashes that occurred in June,” Maj Mai Aik Kyaw said. “In June, they directly entered our places. That’s why we had more battles.”

The TNLA has gone on to day that the Tatmadaw is increasing its presence in the TNLA’s control area.

The Office of the Commander-in-Chief did not report Monday’s fighting with the TNLA, and did not respond to NMG’s request for comment.

The extension of the unilateral ceasefire—first declared for four months on December 21, 2018—was to increase the effectiveness of peace process implementation, according to a Tatmadaw statement. With the ceasefire, they said that they could hold talks with ethnic armed organizations.

The current ceasefire extension is the second: the first was from May 1 until June 30.

Throughout the unilateral ceasefire, clashes have occurred in Kachin and northern Shan states. The army has not applied the ceasefire in western Burma, where they have been fighting the Arakan Army in Minbya, Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw, Rathedaung and Buthidaung townships in Rakhine State and Paletwa Township in Chin State.