Burma Army engaged in friendly-fire

CREDIT PANGLONG ORG

TUESDAY, 25 JUNE 2013 16:54 KP

Sources say clashes between Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) and Burma Army, which broke out recently started again this morning as units engaged in “friendly fire” for 2 hours in Keshi Township, southern Shan State.

“We withdrew our troops from Wanwap village yesterday evening; units of the Burma Army under the control of regional command Lashio were replaced by LIB 525. With several units of its frontlines in the eastern central region requests were made to LIB for reinforcement troops. During the friendly fire it is possible the LIB commander did not notice we had already left the village.  Both sides with reinforced units have been stationed in the village exchanging attacks lasting for 2 hours a SSPP/SSA commander told SHAN.

On 24 June at 10.00 in the morning Langkhur based units of Burma army LIB 525 and LIB 569,under the control of eastern regional command, together 100 troops strong continuously launched the attack with M60 and M79 machine guns towards Wanwap Buddhist temple and into the village. Burma army was reportedly attempting to take over the village where the SSA-N is based and thus resisted the assualts; fighting lasted from 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm in the evening. As Burma Army troops advanced toward the village, fearing of damaging houses and properties of villagers, the SSA withdrew its troops, said the SSA field commander.

Wanwap village is located on Lashio-Mongyai-Keshi Highway in Kehsi Township, some 30 miles from Mongyai.

“On 23 June, we fought the whole day, at night fall the SSA troops and units of the Burma Army were attempting to encircle each other. On the night of 24 June we retreated to the other side of the Keshi-Mongyai Highway. Clashes that took place this morning were not with us, but battalions of the Burma Army units. We have informed the representatives from the Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC) office not to allow their trips to cross over the east side of the highway. Our troops have been ordered to shoot them if they cross,” Col Naw Leik, a member of UPWC from SSA-N told SHAN.

Due to the clashes between 2 armies, units of Burma army from Keshi, Mongnawng and Monghsu, under the control of Middle Eastern Command, have been reinforced in the SSPP/SSA controlled areas. LIB 525 and 569 soldiers loaded were brought in, in over 10 military trucks, and have been mistaken by reinforcement troops under the control of the northeastern regional command said a relative of a truck driver who carried the Burma Army troops in.

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The SSPP/SSA has rejected the Burma Army’s demand to withdraw its base from its Ta Soppu camp, which is a key strategic point, because the Burma Army has prepared its units to take over the base using force. The SSA is prepared for any consequences. Some villagers have fled to other villages due to fear of death, said a Buddhist monk.