Latest report coming from Shan State East’s Mongton township opposite Thailand’s Chiangmai province says the military junta has deployed more troops in the areas a few days ago, likely to be one of its strategies to block movements of Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’, while it is attacking the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’, according to border sources.
The troops reportedly came in 16 military trucks carrying hundreds of armed soldiers, from Mongpan, across the Salween, to Mongton on 27 March.
The movement is believed to be due to a report that 1,00 of the SSA ‘South’ fighters together with Karen fighters are planning to help the SSA ‘North’ that has been fighting with the Burma Army since 13 March, according to a source.
“The Burmese deployment is likely aimed to block their movement,” he said.
According to him, the Burma Army soldiers were separately deployed to take positions in areas where the SSA fighters are usually active like Pongpakhem, Mongtaw and Monghta while some remained in Mongton.
The SSA ‘South’ had reportedly sent some of its fighters in areas of SSA North last month. The SSA North of Maj Gen Pangfa has been fighting against the attacking Burma Army for more than two weeks up to date. Clashes between the two sides were informed almost every day since 13 March in several places in Shan State South’s Kehsi and Monghsu townships and Shan State North’s Tangyan and Mongyai townships.
The SSA is a signatory together with the United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) which had reached an agreement in April 2010 to help each other whenever one of them is attacked.
But the key ally UWSA said it could not help in the fighting because it is still expecting to hold talks with the military junta.
However, United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of 11 ethnic armed ceasefire and non-ceasefire groups, formed in February, released a statement today 29 March, that the Burma Army should not be engaging in a civil war while its new government is still convening its first parliament.
“It should stop attacking the SSA and solve the problems with the group by political and peaceful means,” the statement said.
The KIA, one of the members of UNFC, together with the SSA, have been named by the military junta as “insurgent groups.”
“The Burma Army has only men to fight the non-hostile SSA, but none to help the quake victims,” said a resident of Tachilek, that suffered a 6.8 magnitude quake that killed at least 200 people and left thousands homeless.