Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ ordered to move out of Burma Army’s way

THURSDAY, 26 APRIL 2012 13:41 S.H.A.N.

Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ units operating around its former HQ Hsengkeow in Hsipaw township have been ordered to withdraw by the Burma Army’s Lashio-based Northeastern Region Command on Tuesday, 24 April, according to SSA sources.

The withdrawal order was relayed to the SSA liaison office in Lashio, Shan State North capital, by Chief of Staff Col Win Thein. “He said if we were unable to pull out, the next best alternative would be not to be seen wearing uniforms and carrying arms.”

 

sspp-ssaSSPP/SSA troops at the 48th anniversary of the founding of the SSPP parade (Photo: SSPP)

 

The Burma Army is carrying out an “area-cleansing” operation, according to the locals.

According to SSA commanders, if the order should be followed by them, it should be issued by the SSA’s new HQ in Wanhai, Kehsi township. “Because our standing order since last year has been to leave the Burmese troops alone if they are traveling along the main motor-roads but to engage them once they leave the roads.”

The result was a series of clashes between the two sides since the ceasefire agreement was signed in Shan State capital Taunggyi on 28 January. At least 7 clashes have taken place in Namtu, Hsenwi and Monghsu townships.

“It seems they want the SSA North forces to remain only inside Kehsi and Monghsu townships,” said an SSA officer.

Its sister organization, the SSA South, is having the same problems. At least 14 clashes have taken place between its forces and the Burma Army between December 2011-March 2012. “As far as the Burma Army is concerned, the designated area for all of our troops is the Homong-Monghta area (on the Thai-Burmese border)”, an SSA South commander told SHAN at the height of the fighting in February.

Talks held between the SSA South and the Burma Army’s Kengtung-based Triangle Region Command on 11 April had resulted in the decision to defer the issue to the next formal meeting between Loi Taileng (the SSA HQ) and Naypyitaw due to be held sometime next month.

The Shan State Progress Party / Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), as the SSA North is formally known, has 8 brigades: 3 in Shan State North and 5 in Shan State South. It is also a member of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC).

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