Northern Alliance Says It Will Stop Offensive Operations

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Northern Alliance Brotherhood, a joint force of three ethnic armed groups, has announced that it will halt all offensive operations in northern Shan State, but will continue to defend itself against attacks from the Burma Army.

In a statement released on September 2, the three ethnic armies—the Arakan Army (AA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA)—vowed to stop offensive operations and seek to resolve all issues by political means until the civil war is over.

“We won’t begin any offensive operation. But we will defend ourselves with counteroffensive operations to respond to the Burma Army’s offensives,” the joint statement said.

According to the statement, the alliance will participate in political negotiations with true commitment until it reaches a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the central government.

NMG attempted to contact a Northern Alliance Brotherhood spokesperson for comment, but could not reach until the time of reporting.

Tensions between the alliance and the Burma Army have been high since a combined force of AA, TNLA, and MNDAA troops carried out coordinated attacks on the Defense Services Technological Academy and other Burma Army targets in northern Shan State on August 15.

The AA and the Burma Army have also engaged in multiple clashes in Rakhine State since the start of the year.

Despite the intensification of the conflict in northern Shan State, the government and the Northern Alliance (which also includes the Kachin Independence Army) held an informal meeting in the central Shan State city of Kengtung on August 31 to discuss the possibility of signing a bilateral ceasefire agreement.

Both sides agreed to meet again on September 16-17. The meeting venue is still under discussion.

On Saturday, the Burma Army extended its unilateral ceasefire in five of its regional military commands until September 21. This includes its Northeastern Command, which covers northern Shan State.