UWSA Clashes With RCSS In Eastern Shan State
By Network Media Group
Thursday, April 7, 2022
The armed wing of the United Wa State Party, the United Wa State Army (UWSA), fought with the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) in eastern Shan State for the first time since 2005.
Nyi Ram, head of the UWSA liaison office in Lashio, accused the RCSS of starting the firefight on Tuesday 5 April after sending 20 soldiers to their camp in Mong Hta area, where 18 Wa soldiers are based.
“When our soldiers politely confronted them, they started shooting at them and a firefight ensued,” he wrote on his Facebook page. One UWSA soldier was killed by an RCSS sniper and two others were wounded during the encounter, he claimed, while five RCSS soldiers were killed. They seized 6 small arms from the Shan soldiers.
“Our troops didn’t retaliate with excessive force.”
According to Sai Mueng, editor-in-chief of the Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN), tensions between the UWSA and the RCSS in Mong Hsat District have increased since the beginning of the year, when more than 1,000 new UWSA recruits completed their military training and were sent to camps in the area.
“Since then, there’s been a military standoff in the area,” he told NMG.
According to the SHAN editor, Burma’s former government agreed in 2011 to allow RCSS’s families and internally displaced persons to live in Mong Hta region after the Shan armed group signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in 2015, but the UWSA is now stationed in the region.
“When Thein Sein’s government recognised the Mong Hta area as RCSS headquarters, the UWSA was unhappy. In my opinion, (former) President Thein Sein and the Burma Army caused this problem at that time, and that’s the reason why the clashes are taking place in the region now,” Sai Mueng told NMG.
Between 2001 and 2005, there was intense fighting between the UWSA and the RCSS in the area. He said if the armed organisations don’t engage in dialogue, the conflict in Mong Hta will start all over again.
NMG tried to contact the spokespersons of the UWSP and the RCSS for a statement, but none of the armed groups responded.