The Burma Army has been launching a military operation against the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ in the Loi Ye mountain range, Namzang township since Monday, 30 July, according to SSA sources.
Since then at least 3 clashes have taken place between the attacking forces and the SSA’s Gawn Zerng Column.
The campaign was launched by the Faikhun (Pekhon) based Military Operations Command (MOC) # 7, most of whose units are based either in Kayah or Shan-Kayah border. Light Infantry Battalions 422 (based in Mongpai, Kayah) and 425 (based in Banyen, Shan-Kayah border) are reported among them.
The SSA’s liaison officer Sai Deving, who is stationed at Namzang township’s Kholam sub-township where the Burma Army’s Central Eastern Region Command is based, was not informed about this, according to an SSA source. “The regional commander told him he had not prior knowledge of the operation,” he said.
Meanwhile, a team of the SSA forestry officials led by Sai Leng was also attacked by an unidentified Burmese unit near Nawng Ler, southwest of Mongpan, where the MOC # 17 is based, yesterday morning.
(Each MOC has roughly 10 infantry battalions, the same number as light infantry divisions or LIDs).
Details however are still lacking, although the SSA said the attacking forces from MOC # 7 had sustained casualties and that it had captured some weapons.
“We have lodged protest with U Aung Min (Vice Chairman, Union Peacemaking Work Committee), and demanded an explanation as well as an immediate end to the hostilities,” said Lt-Gen Yawdserk, leader of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), the SSA South’s political wing.
The group had reached a ceasefire agreement with Naypyitaw on 2 December. Since then it had already fought 27 times against the Burma Army.
The two sides are scheduled to hold a 4th formal meeting this month.