SSA “keeping our side of the bargain”

Lt Gen Yawdserk (Photo: SHAN)
Speaking during the 4-day annual meeting of the Restoration Council of Shan State/ Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) which ended Saturday, 19 January, the movement’s supreme leader Lt Gen Yawdserk said it had strictly adhered to the ceasefire agreement made with Naypyitaw since 2 December 2011.

“We had stopped staging ambushes along the highway and raiding towns controlled by the Burma Army,” he told the meeting attended by more than 200 Central Committee members of the RCSS. “All the clashes had taken place well outside the highway where our troops are operating. The Burma Army cannot fault us for not keeping our side of the bargain.”

Yawdserk, 54, was commenting on the annual report read out by Central Executive Committee earlier which stated that 68 clashes had taken place between the SSA and the Burma Army plus its People’s Militia Forces (PMFs) during the previous fiscal year, November 2011-October 2012:

Burma Army         44 clashes
PMFs                  24 clashes

According to the report, the SSA had also captured 69 assorted weapons, killed 113 and wounded 129.

The latest encounter opposite Maehongson on 5 January in Homong sub-township was a clear example, according to an officer commanding the SSA force at the Kawng Moong Mong base, opposite Maehongson’s Muang district.

“The Burma Army had informed us that it was planning to repair the old road network leading from Mae Aw to Ta Hopong,” he said. “Loi Taileng (the SSA’s main base) told them to go ahead thinking the Burma Army unit overseeing the road repair would remain along the road. But then the unit headed for Loi Naga where our troops were stopping over. It inevitably resulted in a shootout, which we did not wish.”

The Burma Army later retreated after reportedly suffering 2 dead and 2 wounded. A Burmese military official, according to Bangkok Post, accused the SSA of trying to disrupt its preparations for the 2015 Asean Economic Community (AEC) which he claimed the road network was a part of. The SSA spokesman Lao Hseng dismissed it as unfounded.

Its counter accusation was that the Burma Army, despite the ceasefire agreement, had continued to encroach on the countryside where the SSA is active saying its standing order was to continue “area clearing” and “area control” operations.

“From now on, we will need to develop closer relationship with the Burma Army,” concluded Yawdserk. “In the past, we were communicating more with the government than the army.”

In its statement issued on 19 January, the RCSS/SSA vowed to continue honoring the oft-breached ceasefire agreement saying “it will not be the fault on the part of the RCSS/SSA if it is broken.”


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