Fighting between government troops and an ethnic armed group erupted in Shan state last week while trust-building talks for peace were still in process in the state capital of Taunggyi.
The fighting began in Mangyin Village of Nanmatu Township on September 17 between the armed wing of the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) and government troops. Another battle occurred on Monday, the final day of the talks.
“Shan soldiers came to the village on September 17. They said they had met with government troops on their way but that nothing happened. But it’s said that government troops started shooting that evening. One Shan fighter was killed, and two were injured,” Nan Khan Aye, MP for the constituency of Nanmatu Township, said on Monday.
Khan Aye added that the government troops came into the village on September 19 and camped at a monastery.
“The Shan soldiers left the village and stayed in a forest outside of it. Early today, a gunfight broke out. Heavy gunfire was also heard in the village, but no villagers were said to be hurt. The villagers want the fighting to stop,” he said.
The Shan party is an ethnic organization that reached a ceasefire agreement with the government on January 28 last year.
Skirmishes between the two sides have continued despite the agreement, and more than 100 skirmishes have been reported since the agreement.
“It’s bad. [They] say the nation-wide ceasefire agreement will be reached in October. But it’s as if they [the government troops] have no intention of keeping their promise,” said Say Htin, the party’s lieutenant general.
Colonel Saw Lwin of the New Kayan State Party denounced the fighting in his speech delivered at the talks.