Fighting in southern Shan State’s Palaung territory has resumed after nearly a month-long cessation, according to an official from an ethnic armed group engaged in the clashes.
The Tatmadaw and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) reportedly exchanged fire around Kyuakme township on September 11.
“Our troops were on the ridge above Loi Ka Lay Village, Kyaukme township when around 100 soldiers from the Tatmadaw came up to the area and attacked us, so fighting broke out,” said Major Mai Aik Kyaw, the TNLA’s information officer. He said the fighting lasted for around 45 minutes.
The Tatmadaw has not released anything about this skirmish.The TNLA and the Tatmdaw’s 77th Infantry Battalion previously sparred in Namhsan and Namtu townships in early August.
Maj Mai Aik Kyaw said that the Tatmadaw has reinforced its troops in areas where the TNLA also maintains a presence. He said the Tatmadaw has increased its 88th, 77th and 33rd Light Infantry Divisions, as well as two military operations commands, resulting in about 6,000 Tatmadaw troops currently active in Kyaukme, Mogok, Hsipaw, Namhsan, Namtu, Kutkai, Theinni, Muse, and Namkham townships.
“They keep launching military offensives. They carry out regular military activities in our areas and they have expanded their forces. We avoid them, but we couldn’t avoid them [on September 11] so fighting broke out,” he added.
Fighting also flared between the Tatmadaw and the Shan State Progress Party/ Shan State Army - North (SSPP/SSA-N) in Hsipaw township on September 11.
Both the TNLA and the SSPP/SSA-N are members of the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee – an association of ethnic armed groups currently fighting in northern Shan and Kachin state that is led by the United Wa State Army. The FPNCC has eschewed the nationwide ceasefire agreement, stating that it will forge its own path to peace.