The Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ yesterday rejected reports that the group has broken up into opposing factions.
According to sources from the group who wished to remain anonymous, its leaders had merely submitted a list of their men who agreed to become members of home guard force as demanded by the military junta.
Besides, its HQ also remains the same as it was, not a Home Guard base yet. “We will take this opportunity to negotiate on the setting up of the home guard force at a later date,” he said.
Anyhow sources from the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) commented that they had no idea why the SSA had done so without first informing them.
A senior commander from the Shan State Army (South) is also of the opinion that the group “is playing with fire.” As for Sao Yawdserk, the SSA South’s leader, he had declined to comment, saying, “I’m following the events closely.”
An SSA North officer who asked not to be named said the total number of men in the lists submitted was just around 700 (Brigade No.3 and Hsengkeow HQ, 300 and Brigade No.7, 400). But the First Brigade still refuses to allow the Burma Army to visit the camp and did not agree with its headquarters to transform into junta run home guard force.
The SSA-N has 3 brigades (1, 3, 7), one China border force and one HQ Security Force. The 1st Brigade is based in Wanhai, Kehsi township, Shan State South, under the command of Maj-Gen Parngfa; Brigade No.3 in Mongkhurh, Mongyai township, Shan State North, under the effective command of Maj-Gen Loimao; Brigade No.7 in Kali, Hsipaw township, Shan State North, led by Maj-Gen Gaifa.
People in the 1st brigade area have reportedly been moving out to other areas since 25 April. “Some fled to Wa areas,” said a local resident of Wanhai.
The Burma Army was also reported to have kept reinforcing more forces, supplies and weapons to its bases on the Salween facing the United Wa State Army (UWSA). Its Light Infantry Division (LID) #33 was reported to have already taken positions in Tangyan Township, west of the UWSA’s 418th Brigade.
“Chinese NGO workers are also leaving Panghsang now except for local Wa residents and about 200 Burmese workers,” said a long time resident of the Wa capital.
According to him, local residents in Wa State have been urged not to leave the areas but to face the crisis together.
But hundreds of people from its southern 171st Military Region based along the Thai-Burma border are reportedly fleeing to Thailand everyday even though there are no reports of significant movements by the Burma Army.
Latest unconfirmed report says a Burma Army patrol in Mongyai Township in Shan State North was ambushed by an unknown number of SSA North troops this morning wounding 1.