Burma Army, TNLA Clash in Northern Shan State

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Fighting between the Burma Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has continued in northern Shan State this month, despite the Tatmadaw extending a unilateral ceasefire declaration until September 30.

“We have had clashes in this month, until September 15. We had clashes five times,” TNLA spokesperson Maj Mai Aik Kyaw told NMG.

He added that the fighting took place in Kutkai, Lashio and Tangyan townships.

According to the TNLA, battles broke out on Loi Lan hill near Kawng Lane village in Kutkai on September 10. On September 13, there was fighting in two locations: near Wan Khon village in Tangyan and in Pang Htun village tract in Lashio.

The TNLA also reported clashes with the Burma Army on September 15 near Hong Moong village in Lashio.

The Burma Army’s unilateral ceasefire declaration was supposed to be applied nationwide, except for Rakhine State, where the Arakan Army (AA) is active.

The Brotherhood Alliance—the TNLA, AA, and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) —announced its own unilateral ceasefire on September 1, lasting until November 9.

“We released a unilateral ceasefire statement. We have tried to avoid clashes as much as possible, but they came and attacked our military camps. That’s why we have had clashes with them,” Maj Mai Aik Kyaw said of the Tatmadaw.

He urged the government forces to cease their offensive amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to consider the challenges that the public health crisis is creating for people.

The military’s Office of the Commander-in-Chief has not released any information about the fighting in northern Shan State.

Maj Mai Aik Kyaw told NMG that the government has still not initiated peace talks with the Brotherhood Alliance, and meetings of any kind are on hold as Burma grapples with a second wave of the coronavirus.

He also said that the Burma Army has used this period to send troop reinforcements into the TNLA’s territory, particularly in Kutkai, Lashio, Muse and Namkham.

“They sent LID 99 [Light Infantry Division] and MOC 10 [Military Operations Command]. The soldiers came with 30-40 military vehicles. They had already deployed their troops in those areas. They have once again sent more troops into those areas,” Maj Mai Aik Kyaw told NMG.

The TNLA, AA, MNDAA, and the Kachin Independence Army, are members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed organizations, which, prior to the pandemic, had been negotiating with the government and the Burma Army regarding the possible signing of a bilateral ceasefire agreement.