Ta’ang School Damaged, Highway Blocked in Northern Shan State Clashes

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Intense fighting near the Loi Samsip (Thirty Hills) area in Kutkai Township, northern Shan State has led locals to flee their homes and for the highway to the China border to close.

A local who lives in Kutkai told NMG on the condition of anonymity that the Burma Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) had clashed near the Karlai junction and Kabar Aye pagoda on Wednesday morning.

“Clashes broke out at around 7:15 this morning. The sound of guns shooting went silent at around 10:00 a.m.,” the individual said on Wednesday.

Locals also told NMG that both heavy artillery and regular guns were used in the fighting and that no one has been allowed to travel on the national highway from Kutkai to Muse. The road remains closed from the Kutkai tollgate accessible from the Muse side.

“All vehicles have been blocked… many cars were dumped on the road,” a local source said.

During the fighting, four artillery shells landed on the grounds of the area’s Ta’ang Education Center, leading teachers to relocate the children at the school’s boarding house to safety. While none of the 80 people at the site were injured, the school’s infrastructure was damaged.

“We closed all of the school’s doors and stayed under the beds during the clashes,” teacher Lway Shwe Su told NMG.

NMG called representatives from both the Burma Army and the TNLA for comment on the recent fighting but did not receive a response at the time of reporting.

The TNLA reported that they fought the Burma Army in three places on Wednesday morning: near Mang Nawng village on the national highway in Kutkai Township, near the Myothit golf club in Kutkai town, and near Taw Hpe village in Kyaukme Township.

Ta’ang forces also added that troops from the Burma Army’s artillery battalion in Kyaukme and a military camp in Mong Ngaw had been firing on a TNLA camp with heavy weapons since Monday.

One day earlier, the TNLA also reported that Burma Army shells had landed in Ta’ang villages in Namhsan and Manton townships.