Friday, March 1, 2013

Shan groups warn Thein Sein of continuing fighting

Friday, 01 March 2013 17:27 Hin Tha Ni (Mon Myay)

Sangklaburi (Mizzima): The Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) and the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) recently wrote letters to President Thein Sein informing him of fighting between Shan troops and the Myanmar government army in mid-February, according to SSPP and RCSS officers.

SSA Fighters (Photo: SSPP/SSA)

In early February, the Myanmar government army demanded the withdrawal of SSPP/SSA troops from Loi Lang base in Tangyang Township in Shan State, but the SSPP/SSA refused.

Consequently, fighting between the Shan troops and the Tatmadaw broke out leading to SSPP/SSA to write to the president. Col. Phain Pha told Mizzima that Thein Sein has already replied to the letters.

“The president has ordered government troops to withdraw from Loi Lang,” said Phain Pha. He said that fighting started from February 19 and that the government army suffered high casualties. The government army requested to come to the area to collect its dead and wounded, according to the SSPP/SSA officer.

The Shan Herald Agency for News reported that about 30 government soldiers were killed in the fighting. The SSPP/SSA officer Col. Phain Pha said that he could confirm that the government army suffered high casualties, but that he could not confirm the exact number of casualties of the government army.

On February 24, the Myanmar government’s Triangle Region Command demanded withdrawal of RCSS/SSA troops from its two bases by February. On February 25, fighting between government troops and RCSS/SSA troops broke out again.

RCSS/SSA also sent a letter addressing to the Myanmar President Thein Sein to inform him of the fighting, but the President has not replied to their letter, according to RCSS/SSA spokesman Maj. Sai Lao Hseng.

“We sent the letter, dated February 26, addressing the president and sent copies of the letter to the Lt-Gen. Soe Win, Minister Aung Min and other relevant ministers. We urged the president to give necessary instructions in order to create a situation in which mutual trust can be built to avoid unnecessary fighting and to order government troops not to launch unnecessary attacks like this,” Maj, Sai Lao Hseng told Mizzima.

The RCSS/SSA was ordered to withdraw by February 28 but there was no fighting on that day, Maj. Sai Lao Hseng told Mizzima.

The government army sent letters to the relevant RCSS/SSA bases, demanding withdrawals of RCSS/SSA troops from Mong Hta sub-township base and Homain sub-township base.

Maj. Sai Lao Hseng told Mizzima that both sides agreed to set up RCSS/SSA areas in Homain and Monghta sub-townships to resettle the families of its troops and to improve their living standards.

The Myanmar government previously signed ceasefire agreements with SSPP/SSA and RCSS/SSA on January 28, 2012 and November 19, 2011 respectively.
Related stories:
  1. Shan delegates call for an end to conflict
  2. Shan leader warns of cease-fire violations, reiterates call for federalism

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