“There may be several reasons why,” said Major Sai La, spokesman for the Shan State Progress Party / Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) but unofficially known as the SSA North despite protests from both itself and the Restoration Council of the Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), better known as the SSA South:
- For one thing, continued heavy rains and haze have prevented the Air Force from effectively joining the operation
- Heavy casualties on the Burma Army side since 11 July when the Nampook battle was fought in Mongyai township; “At least 8 Huskies have come to pick up the wounded in Kehsi alone,” he said
- The ongoing campaign has revealed both the Burma Army’s strength and flaws; it has abundant firepower and manpower but the soldiers are evidently untrained for counter guerrilla campaigns
“One report says the Northeastern Command (based in Lashio) has called up elements from the light Infantry Division 33 from Kokang,” he said. “Another report, yet to be confirmed, says they are in the process of forming a 500 men suicide force.”
The SSA is still compiling a report on the 4-month old campaign fought since 13 March.
Meanwhile, the SSA South, with which it is negotiating for a merger, is fighting a diversionary campaign against the Burma Army, such as ambushes staged in Loilem on 9 July and in Mongpan on 18 July, according to an SSA South source.
“But to be more effective, we would need to set up a combined command center,” he said on condition of anonymity.