TUESDAY, 17 MAY 2011 15:28 HSENG KHIO FAH
Security in Shan State North’s Tangyan Township, one of the battlefields of the Burma Army and the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North, have reportedly been tightened since a bomb exploded in the area last weekend, according to local sources.The explosion took place at a police checkpoint located east of the town leading to the strategic Ta Gawng-et Bridge on the Salween, resulting in one policeman injured in his face and arms.“It broke out around 9 pm on 14 May when most of the people living nearby the monastery to join the scriptural chanting. Otherwise, it would have frightened them,” said a local source.
It was later found to be a hand grenade. However, culprits have been unknown up to date.
Meanwhile, the SSA Company No. 1 led its commander Leng Khurh has reportedly attacked one of the checkpoints located in the same area on the same day, according to the SSA.
On the next day, leaders of the Burma Army-backed militias groups in the township as well as its battalion commanders were summoned to Lashio, headquarters of Northeastern Region Command in accordance with an order from the regional commander Bri-Gen Aung Kyaw Zaw, according to a source close to the militia groups.
Local militia units were later assigned by the area commander to provide security for the army bases and the town, another source said. “Now, militia men are seen everywhere in the town.”
Militia units in Tangyan have been formed into 6 companies, each of which is between 100 and 800 strong. Many of them are being sent to the frontline to fight against the SSA while some are left to provide security for the rear bases as almost all of the Burma Army soldiers have also been deployed to the battlefields.
According to the SSA North, 3,500 strong Burma Army units were since 13 March deployed against their 2,500-3,000 strong fighters, who are active in Tangyan, Mongyai, Monghsu and Kehsi townships. Its principal ally the United Wa State Army (UWSA) had refused to come to the aid thereby inadvertently facilitating closer relations between it and the non-ceasefire SSA South.