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Tension flares up between Burma’s junta, ceasefire groups after confrontations

Written by Hseng Khio Fah

Thursday, 16 September 2010 17:18

Tensions between Burma Army and ceasefire groups on the Sino-Burma border have
dramatically accelerated following a clash between the Burma Army and Shan State Army
(SSA) ‘North’ two days ago, sources from both local and the Sino-Burma border.

“It is a spontaneous action. The atmosphere is getting more strained. The ceasefire sides have
increased their security especially at their main bases facing Burma Army bases,” an informed
source from the border said.

On 14 September, at 17:40 (local time), a clash took place between a patrol of Shan State Army
(SSA) ‘North’’s First Brigade led by Lieutenant Hseng Harn and a Burma Army patrol from
Infantry Battalion (IB) #147, based in Shan State North’s Khaihsim (its main base is in
Nawngkaw in Namtu Township) near Nam Phak Tope village, Tonkeng village tract, Hsipaw
township, between Hsipaw and Lashio, Shan State North capital. The SSA had one fighter
wounded, according to an SSA officer.

Local villagers from the area reported three died on the Burma Army side. “We can’t confirm the
report,” he said.

The First Brigade was said to have been told by the Burma Army to stay within its boundary and
not to cross north of the Mongyai-Tangyan motor road. Mongyai is located in the north of the
First Brigade main bases, Tangyan in the northeast, Monghsu in the southeast and Kehsi in the

The SSA is now conducting intensive check on everyone who enters its controlled areas and
has also deployed more fighters to safeguard motor roads around its main base Wanhai such
as Tangyan-Monghsu and Lashio-Monghsu motor roads.  

Besides the SSA, latest tension between the Burma Army and United Wa State Army (UWSA)

Tension flares up between Burma’s junta, ceasefire groups after confrontations

Written by Hseng Khio Fah

Thursday, 16 September 2010 17:18

is taking place at Burma Army’s strongest base Loi Panglong, northwest of the Wa
headquarters Panghsang, and near Manghseng.

Meanwhile, the Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) is at loggerheads

with the Burma Army over the control of Loi Pangnao, the second highest mountain in Shan
State. It is 8,542 ft high. The highest one is Loi Leng, 8,777 ft, located in Mongyai Township.
“Each is telling the other to stay off the mountain and neither is leaving,” said a source close to
the group.

“Another point of contention is taking place at Taping, the crossing of the Lwe, which marks the
natural boundary between Burma Army and NDAA,” a businessman whose truck runs between
Kengtung and Mongla. “Both sides are closely checking traffic going across the river.”

The Northeastern Region Command has reportedly ordered its units to be on a 24-hour standby
including its civilian personnel. The same instruction was, earlier this month, given to the civilian
personnel in areas along the Thai-Burma border as well.

Tensions between the Burma Army and ceasefire groups, the UWSA, Kachin Independence
Army (KIA), SSA ‘North’ and the NDAA have been soaring up since the junta’s latest deadline
for the groups to disarm had expired on 1 September. Both sides have been reinforcing their
troops on heightened alert after none of them accepted the junta’s plan.

The military junta says any group that failed to surrender by the deadline will automatically
become “an unlawful association.” When Naypyitaw attacked Kokang in August, it first of all
declared the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) an unlawful organization.

There are only 4 groups (3 and a quarter according to some): Myanmar National Democratic
Alliance Army (MNDAA), New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDAK), Karenni Nationalities Peoples
Liberation Front (KNPLF) and Kachin Defense Army (KDA) agreed to the BGF program. The
MNDAA, better known as Kokang, was attacked in August 2009 after a faction led by Bai
Xuoqian agreed to accept it.

A border watcher based on the Sino-Burma analyst observes tensions have drastically mounted
soon after junta chief Than Shwe’s return from China. “We don’t know whether a secret deal

Tension flares up between Burma’s junta, ceasefire groups after confrontations

Written by Hseng Khio Fah

Thursday, 16 September 2010 17:18

between the two countries has been reached over their shared border,” he said.

According to Asia Times report, two points stood out from Senior General Than Shwe's highly
anticipated visit: China's overt and unequivocal support for the elections, and Myanmar's
assurance that security would be maintained during and after the polls. The latter is of special
concern to Beijing due to heightened tensions between Myanmar's government and ethnic
insurgent groups along their shared and strategically significant border.