Northern Alliance Claims Attack on Tatmadaw Academy

‘There has been no change, so we launched defensive operations as a way to put military pressure on the army,’ a TNLA spokesperson said.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The combined forces of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the ARakan Army (AA) carried out an attack on the Burma Army’s academy in Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay on Thursday morning, the TNLA confirmed.

Maj Mai Aik Kyaw, who is in charge of the TNLA’s information department, told NMG that the alliance attacked five locations, including two in Pyin Oo Lwin—the Defense Services Technological Academy (DSTA) and a highway toll gate—and three in Nawng Khio, northern Shan State, which included another toll gate and locations reportedly near Gokteik Bridge and Lauhpan.

The 5:30 a.m. strikes followed a demand earlier this week by the Northern Alliance that the Tatmadaw end its military offensive against the group’s members. When this did not occur, they carried out the attacks as a way to put pressure on the army, Maj Mai Aik Kyaw explained.

“They have launched strong military offensives in our area, so we have had multiple clashes in this month,” he said of the Burma Army. “At the same time, the number of military clashes increased in the Rakhine region. That’s why we released a joint statement and called for the army to stop all military offensives. There has been no change, so we launched defensive operations as a way to put military pressure on the army,” Maj Mai Aik Kyaw told NMG.

A witness in Nawng Khio told NMG that the Nawng Khio drug checkpoint had been burned down and that vehicles at the gate had also been burned. The road remains blocked to the Gokteik area.

“There are many casualties. Civilian rescue teams transferred six injured people to the hospital. I heard that there were both dead and injured people in Gokteik,” the witness said.

Locals said that clashes are ongoing in the Gokteik area and vehicles remain trapped on the road.

“We have often heard the sound of guns shooting. The clashes are still on and off in the area. They are still fighting there. Many cars are trapped near the Zee Bin bridge,” one local said.

The office of the military’s commander-in-chief reported Wednesday’s clashes and accused the ethnic armed organizations of attacking the military over anger regarding recent military seizure of narcotics.

“The army seized illicit drugs worth of over 16 billion kyat, drug-manufacturing machines, and a drug factory in Chaungsone, southeast of Shou Haw village in Kutkai Township on July 25, 2019. Army also seized illicit drugs worth of over 5 billion kyat, weapons and other materials in Yetkontai village in Rathedaung Township in Rakhine state on August 8. They were not pleased with these arrests,” the army said in its report.

The military also said in the report that one civilian had been killed and one soldier was injured in the Northern Alliance attacks.

The AA, MNDAA and TNLA released a joint statement on August 12 calling on the army to immediately halt all military offensives in northern Shan State and Rakhine State. The joint statement also said that if the Tatmadaw didn’t stop the offensives, they would have to “take responsibility for the consequences.”