A 4 day long clash of Pa-O National Army (PNA) and Mark Kieng militia unit had taken place in Southern Shan State’s Namzang Township recently, local sources said.
The clash started on 18 October to 21 October resulting in 4 men on the PNA side dead and one man from Mark Kieng side wounded. It came in the wake of an argument between Pa-O National Organization (PNO) party campaigners and villagers of Mark Kieng, Mongzit village tract on 17 October, a local businessman said.
“The PNO came to conduct campaign in the village. But local villagers refused to allow them to campaign and asked them to leave saying no one would support them. The campaigners then got angry with the villagers and left immediately.”
The campaigners reportedly came back on the next day with 150 strong PNA force led by Major Kyaw Tin Oo. But they were stopped by 20 strong Mark Kieng militia led by Captain Mo Khurh at Hsai Nguen village controlled by the group.
“Mark Kieng group warned them [PNA] not to cross their controlled area, otherwise they would fire. But PNA continued coming in and the clash started then,” he said.
The shooting stopped after the intervention of commander of Eastern Region Command based in Taunggyi.
“The commander said if the two did not stop fighting, he would send his Burma Army soldiers to attack both of them.”
According to local villagers, most of Mark Kieng militia men were former members of Mong Tai Army and more familiar to the terrain than the PNA. “Most PNA men were new recruits and had no experience in fighting yet.”
Maj-Gen Yawdserk, confirming the reports, commented: It was only a fight between two drug cartels backed by the junta.