This morning a Burma Army unit in Wanhsaw in the gemland of Monghsu was attacked by the ceasefire group Shan State Army (SSA) North whose territory was under siege by the Burma Army since early March, according to a source from the Thai-Burma border who had called up his relatives in the area.
“Explosions of shells could be heard on the phone,” he said.
Wanhsaw is only six miles east of Wanhai, until March the main base of SSA North. “It is now almost deserted,” said a Shan rebel officer. “The Burma Army can take it any time they want. We are now off to greener pastures.”
On 28 March, Palaung and other sources reported a clash took place in Namhsan as well as Namtu townships, north of the Mandalay-Lashio highway. Later on 1 April, the non-ceasefire SSA South leader Lt-Gen Yawdserk announced that the two sides had joined hands together in a fight against Burma Army forces in Mongmit township.
“When your enemy calls on you (meaning attack you),” remarked the late Khun Sa, leader of the now defunct Mong Tai Army (MTA), “it is only fair to return the favor.”
The SSA North officer, who wishes to remain anonymous for the time being, however told SHAN areas north of the Mandalay-Lashio highway were under its sway until 2005 when it had pulled out “due to the desire to preserve peace with the junta”, but it had now decided to returned to its old stamping grounds “since the ceasefire pact has been violated by the junta”.
Townships north of the highway where the SSA North is reported active are Mongmit, Kyaukme, Hsipaw, Namhsan, Namtu and Lashio.
These areas have been surveyed by Chinese firms responsible for the planned construction of the oil and gas pipelines coming from Arakan.
Other related news include arrival of more than 20 Burma Army casualties in Tangyan on 4 April. “Those critically wounded were forwarded to Lashio,” reported a local this morning.
The SSA North, that controls Tangyan, Mongyai, Monghsu and Kehsi townships, has been under attack since 13 March. Its principal ally the United Wa State Army (UWSA)s had refused to come to the aid thereby inadvertently facilitating closer relations between it and the non-ceasefire SSA South.