Burma Army’s artillery force, which is based in Shan State East’s Mongyawng township, has reportedly targeted and tested their weapons against one of the groups that is at loggerheads. This group is the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), better known as Mongla group, according to sources from Mongla.
The incident took place on 7 January. The base that was attacked was located on Loi Parng Nao, which, at 5, 842 feet, is the second highest mountain in the Shan State. 15 155 mm artillery shells had fallen both inside and around the base. No injuries were reported on the Mongla side, an officer from the group said.
According to him, the Burma Army reportedly told the group [Mongla] a day earlier that they were going to test their weapons. The Mongla group says it did not expect the Burma Army to fire upon their base. They thought the Burma Army should not have targeted their base in the first place, if what they wanted was peace.
“It was like they intended to intimidate us,” the officer commented.
The recently used 155 mm artillery, which is said to be able to reach 24 kilometers, was reportedly brought from China, Mongla sources said.
Concerning the test, some border watchers on the Sino-Burma border commented the incident does not mean there would be a possible war; however, it could relate to some of the Mongla group’s speeches delivered on Burma Independence Day, January 4.
“The speech recalled that Burma Independence Day came from the Panglong Agreement, which was signed by different ethnic territories and Burma's representative General Aung San in order to demand Britain for independence and establish a genune federal union. But contrary to expectations, it was just artificial Independence aid an artificial union,” the source said.
Another factor that could have made the junta unhappy is that the Mongla is still said to be using the old national flag, not the new flag as stipulated in 2008 constitution.
Regarding the shooting, the Mongla made no response except to order all of its fighters to stay alert and keep an eye on the Burma Army movement.
The Loi Pangnao Mountain is an important strategic location that the two sides [Burma Army and Mongla] have been scrambling over each other for possession since September 2009. Each side is telling the other to stay off the mountain but neither is leaving.