The Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’, the group that has been fighting with the Burma Army since Sunday, 13 March, was given ultimatum to surrender by the end of the month and to pull out from all their bases spread out in areas outside its main base, within this week, according to sources close to the SSA.
“They [the junta] told the group to pull out from all their bases in other townships like Monghsu, Tangyan and Hsipaw by March 20. And they have to assemble at its headquarters in Wanhai,” said a source close to SSA leadership.
The SSA bases that the Burma Army orders has ordered to evacuate were those located in Shan State South’s Monghsu and Kehsi and Northern Shan State’s Tangyan, Mongyai, Hsipaw and Lashio. The SSA is mainly active in Shan State South’s Kehsi and Monghsu townships and Shan State North’s Mongyai and Tangyan townships.
An officer from the SSA said the Burma Army is likely to move in for the final assault soon, as its troops are now moving closer to their base. The distance is only 2 miles between them. The total strength of Burma Army troops around the SSA is at least about 2,000 plus 120 military trucks.
In addition, he said, “In our four days long fighting, the Burma Army has only used firepower more than manpower. Due to that reason, we have lost four of our core bases to the Burma Army. On the other hand, we have yet to receive any support from our allies.”
SHAN editorial has quoted Sao Saimong Mangrai, the late Shan scholar, who commented in his classic “The Shan States and The British annexation”:
“If a disaster occurs somewhere in the world, some Shans are apt to say that it is not in Burma and therefore it matters not. Should the disaster take place in Burma, the same people say it is not in the Shan States. If it happens in the Shan States, they say it is outside their state. If it does in their state, they will say it is not in their town or village. If it comes to their town or village, they say. 'That is not our house'. If the disaster befalls their own house……..”
According to the latest information, the SSA has lost their Namma base, southwest of Lashio, Loikhio base in north of Monghsu and all gateways to its ally Untied Wa State Army (UWSA) controlled areas during yesterday’s fighting.
Dozens of civilians in the conflict zones were reportedly killed and injured by the Burma Army’s heavy shells. The latest report says some 1,000 people including the injured are seeking shelter in Monghsu township.