Yet another clash between the Burma Army soldiers and fighters from First Brigade of Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ that refused Naypyitaw’s order to disarm broke out yesterday afternoon in Shan State North’s Mongyai township, according to both local and SSA ‘North’ sources.
“It was an ambush staged by the Burma Army when our men returned from the corn fields,” said a senior SSA officer from the Brigade No.1.
The clash took place at 13:40, at Kawng Ai village, Namhsom village tract of Mongyai Township, between a team of SSA’s First Brigade led by Lieutenant Sujinda and a patrol from Hotong outpost under the command of Infantry Battalion (IB) #67 based in Mongyai Township.
The attack lasted for about 10 minutes, reportedly killed one soldier on the Burma Army side and no casualties on the SSA side, according to the officer who requested anonymity. “They shot first and missed,” he commented. “We returned the fire later and did not miss.”
1 MA automatic rifle together with 7 cartridges were seized by the SSA. But the First Brigade commander Maj-Gen Pangfa was reported to have ordered his men to return the booty back to the Burma Army today, according to another source.
Both sides have already fought twice this month. The first took place on 14 September, at 17:40 (local time), by a patrol of SSA ‘Norht’’s First Brigade led by Lieutenant Hseng Harn and a Burma Army patrol from Infantry Battalion (IB) #147, based in Shan State North’s Khaihsim (its main base is in Nawngkaw in Namtu Township) near Nam Phak Tope village, Tonkeng village tract, Hsipaw township, between Hsipaw and Lashio, Shan State North capital. The SSA had one fighter wounded. Local villagers from the area say three died on the Burma Army side.
Two days after the attack, the Burma Army has reportedly sent villagers to apologize the SSA for their shooting saying because it was a mistake.
Both clashes were started by the Burma Army, another senior SSA officer said. “It is obvious that they are provoking us. They knew well that the SSA has farms located in the areas,” he said. “It could not be a mistake, it is surely premeditated.”
The SSA has been conducting intensive check on everyone who enters its controlled areas and has also deployed more fighters to safeguard motor roads around its main base Wanhai such as Tangyan-Monghsu and Lashio-Monghsu motor roads.
The First Brigade was told by the Burma Army not to cross north of the Mongyai-Tangyan motor road after it refused to accept Napyitaw’s border guard force program in April. Mongyai is located in the north of the First Brigade main bases, Tangyan in the northeast, Monghsu in the southeast and Kehsi in the South.