RCSS Clashes With Two EAOs in Northern Shan State

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Troops from the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) have both clashed with the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) in northern Shan State in early December.

Fighting between the RCSS and SSPP occurred in Hsipaw Township on December 5, while fighting between the RCSS and the TNLA broke out in Namtu Township on December 7.

RCSS spokesperson Lt-Col Oum Khur said that the clash with the TNLA occurred near the Pan Tawng bridge in Man San village tract.

“The TNLA troops attacked our troops. The clash occurred between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 in the afternoon,” he told NMG.

Maj Mai Aik Kyaw, who is in charge of the TNLA’s information department, said that there has been a dispute over territory in Namtu between the two armed groups dating back years.

After clashes with the RCSS in 2018, he explained that the Shan troops withdrew, and the TNLA remained present in the area throughout 2019.

“After that, we had clashes with the Burma Army in the area. Then we withdrew our troops. When we were absent, the RCSS troops invaded the area again. That’s why we have had clashes with them again,” Maj Mai Aik Kyaw said.

The TNLA has accused the RCSS of expanding their territory into northern Shan State since signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the government and military in 2015.

The RCSS denies this.

“Our troops have had movement in the area for more than 30 years. The TNLA forces are active again in the area. I don’t think they want our presence there,” the RCSS’s Lt-Col Oum Khur told NMG. “Whatever the reason is, I want the leaders of both forces to seek a way to end all hostilities among ethnic armed organizations.”

The RCSS’s recent clash with the SSPP—a TNLA ally—was brief and due to a misunderstanding, Lt-Col Oum Khur said.

“While our troops were on patrol, we didn’t get their information [that they were in the area]. That’s why we had a clash with them. It was a short clash that occurred near Loi Lam village in Hsipaw Township,” he explained, adding that the fighting lasted around 10 minutes. “It was not a planned operation. It was just surprise shooting.”

The TNLA and the SSPP are members of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC), along with the United Wa State Party, Kachin Independence Organization, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, National Democratic Alliance Army, and United League of Arakan.

The FPNCC members are not signatories to the NCA with the government and Burma Army.