As war clouds gather in central Shan State, students who are finishing their final exams say they might be stuck in towns where they have been studying, according to sources from Lashio and Mandalay.
The Burma Army has closed passage of moter vehicles going south to Monghsu, where a rubyland was discovered around 1990. Between it and Kehsi in the west is Wanhai, the headquarters of the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ of Maj-Gen Pangfa, who has turned down the Naypyitaw-run Border Guard Force (BGF) program.
“The only road open is from Mongnawng (south of Monghsu)”, said a father of two children who are studying in Mandalay. “But once shooting begins, it’ll be closed too.”
Aside from 16 armored personnel carriers (APCs) and 30 military trucks full of soldiers going up from Taunggyi, Light Infantry Dission (LID) 99 have been sighted in Namlan, Hsipaw township, on their way to the south. “We think they are going to Wanhai,” said a driver whose truck has been turned back.
The SSA North, meanwhile, says Burma Army troops are still keeping their distance from Wanhai, from where all the civilians have left.
The SSA North has been reorganized into 5 brigades since January:
Commander in Chief – Maj Gen Pangfa
Deputy Commander in Chief (1) – Col Kherh Tai
Deputy Commander in Chief (2) – Col Sai Du
Chief of Staff – Col Khemin
1st Brigade – Ngao Fa
72nd Brigade – Lao Herh, Hseng Fa and Mongli
36th Brigade – Peun Mong
74th Brigade – Zing Mong
HQ Security Brigade – Zaw Mong and Naw Fa
It is one of the 12 groups that had formed the alliance: United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) on 16 February.