SSPP/SSA asks President Htin Kyaw to release detainees

The Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) has sent President U Htin Kyaw and other senior government officials a letter calling for the release of civilians who have been detained by the Burma Army for their association with the group. The SSPP/SSA has also requested that a number of their troops, who were also detained by the army over the past few months, be released as well.
General Pang Fa, the Chairman of the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA).
 Col Sai Aung, an official stationed at the SSPP/SSA's Wan Hai headquarters, said that in addition to President U Htin Kyaw, the letter calling for the release of the detained soldiers and civilians had also been sent to the armed forces Commander-in-Chief Sen Gen Min Aung Hlaing, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, North Eastern Command head Maj Gen Phone Myat, Vice Sen Gen Yar Pyae and Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) Chairman U Khun Htun Oo.

“As they have detained our people, this affects peace because we have already signed the state-level and union-level ceasefires but they don’t recognize us as a peace group. They keep detaining our men,” explained Col Sai Aung. His group did not however sign last year's National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

In their letter, the SSPP/SSA stated that they are saddened that these kinds of incidents have continued to take place as the country has been moving towards a nationwide ceasefire, national reconciliation and peace. The group has requested that the president release the both their troops and the civilians in the interests of national reconciliation.

“We sent a letter to the Ya Ma Kha (North Easter Command)’s commander Maj Gen Phone Myat on May 13th to release the detained men. He told us not to worry about our men as they were being treated well and held in a secure place. But they have been electroshocked and hit with rifle butts. Their arms were tied up behind their backs and they were interrogated thrice a day for 14 days straight. They were hit at least five times during each interrogation,” said an official from the SSPP/SSA.

The Burma Army detained one SSPP/SSA soldier in November 2015. In March of this year 20 SSPP/SSA soldiers were arrested by the army. On May 31st 8 civilians were detained by the army. The total number of people detained in connection with the SSPP/SSA appears to be 31.

On January 21st the SSPP/SSA released a number of Burma army personal who had been detained during clashes with the Burma Army. The list of released Burma army soldiers includes one colonel, two warrant officers, one sergeant, two corporals, one lance corporal and two privates. Although the SSPP/SSA said that they released the detainees in the spirit of national reconciliation and peace, the Burma Army has yet to reciprocate.

BY: Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)


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