TNLA Reports ‘Frequent’ Clashes despite Burma Army Ceasefire

The group says it has clashed with government forces 60 times since the ceasefire was first declared at the end of last year.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

An ethnic armed organization (EAO) based in northern Shan State says that the Burma Army’s military activities, including clashes with EAOs, continue as usual despite the extension of its unilateral ceasefire in the region last month.

“The situation on the ground has not changed. They are still active and there have been military movements in the area even after they extended their unilateral ceasefire,” Maj. Mai Aik Kyaw, the spokesperson for the Palaung State Liberation Front/Ta’ang National Liberation Army (PSLF/TNLA), told NMG.

“They have built more camps and they are frequently patrolling the area. They often enter our territory,” he added.

According to the PSLF/TNLA, the group has clashed with the Burma Army more than 60 times since the ceasefire was first declared late last year. The ceasefire has been extended twice since then, most recently on June 30. It is now in force until the end of next month.

“There have been more than 60 clashes between the Burma Army and our forces [since the ceasefire started]. Most occurred in June and July. In June, their forces tried to chase our forces inside our territory. Whenever they got information about our positions, they came after us. That’s why there were many clashes in June,” said Maj. Mai Aik Kyaw.

The two sides have clashed in Kyaukme, Namhsan, Mangton, Namtu, Hsipaw, Lashio, Kutkai, Muse and Namkham townships in northern Shan State. The most recent exchanges of fire have been concentrated around Namhsan, Kyaukme, Mangton and Kutkai townships.

The Burma Army’s True News Information Team said at a recent press conference that the highest number of clashes during the unilateral ceasefire period have occurred in the Northeast Regional Military Command (northern Shan State).

“Among the five Regional Military Commands [included in the ceasefire], the highest number of clashes and lapses of discipline have occurred in the Northeast Regional Military Command,” said the chairman of the True News Information Team, Maj. Gen. Soe Naing Oo.

“There were 25 clashes with the TNLA in seven months. TNLA forces crossed over the control area 207 times. TNLA forces collected illegal taxes seven times. TNLA forces engaged in new recruitment 16 times in those seven months,” he said.

“We are a non-NCA group. Our organization has not yet signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. We don’t have any mutual agreement with them, so their accusations are meaningless,” Maj. Mai Aik Kyaw said in response.

The PSLF/TNLA said that it would continue to seek a political solution to the conflict through negotiations, even though the clashes have damaged mutual trust.

The PSLF/TNLA is a member of the Northern Alliance, a coalition of non-ceasefire EAOs based in northern Burma. Its member met with representatives of the government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Centre in Muse on April 30, but the two sides have yet to agree on a date for another meeting.