Shan army overtures spurned by HQ

Shan State Army (SSA) South’s recent direct overtures to the Burma Army’s field units to inform their movements in advance so to avoid further clashes were “countermanded” by Naypyitaw, according to a source close to the military.

“The directive that was conveyed by the regional command to the field units was that they should ignore the SSA’s advances and just follow orders from their superiors,” the source who asked anonymity said. “Some officers are in fact blaming the Shan Herald for putting out the news (of SSA overtures on 14 August). They say if you had remained quiet, the fight in Mongpan (on 22 August) would not have happened.”

Lt. Gen. Yawd Serk, left, leader of Shan State Army (SSA), and Gen. Soe Win, chief of Burma's government negotiation group, shake hands during their meeting in Kengtung, eastern Shan State, 19 May 2012. (Photo: AP)

The SSA offer that it would not fight if it was notified in advance of the Burmese units, according to SSA leader Sao Yawdserk, was reportedly responded favorably by may units.

However, 8-days after SHAN report was published, a combined force from the Burma Army’s Military Operation Command (MOC) #17 attacked a Shan unit in Mongpan. The attack took place between Hwe Zoy and Na Mawn villages in Nawng Lerh tract.

According to a member of the Burma Army-run local militia force, it had warned the Burmese column not to advance before notifying the SSA. “But they said we are a national army,” he recounted. “We can go anywhere we like in this country.”

The two hour fight, 10:00-12:00, resulted in at least 4 dead on the Burma Army side and 1 dead at least 2 wounded on the SSA side, according to him.

The two sides, since 2 December 2011, when the ceasefire agreement was signed have fought more than a 100 clashes.

“Liaison offices have been set up at the Burma Army’s regional headquarters for the purpose of avoiding such confrontations,” said Yawdserk. “I have no idea why the Burma Army never put them to good use.”


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