During these days, a large number of soldiers from Burma Army troops fighting with the Shan State Progress Party/ Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) in Shan State South, have reportedly been deserting from the battlefields, local sources reported.
So far, the known deserters were ten, all from Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) 513 and 542 that have been fighting with the Shan army on 16-17 April, in Tawng Hio village, 20 miles south of Tangyan township, a source said.
“They [the soldiers] deserted during the fighting. They changed into civilian clothes and passed through the village. Five soldiers came out on 17 April and another five on 19 April,” said an eye witness.
At least 10 Burma Army soldiers were reportedly killed including a battalion commander and 15 injured in the clash that took place on 16-17 April. They also lost five RPG launchers and 6 backpacks to the Shan army, according to a civil servant from Tangyan.
None of the members from Shan army were reported injured or killed. The two-day siege was led by Major Sai Hseng with over a hundred men from Brigade No. 36, according to the SSA.
“Burma army soldiers took refuge villagers’ trenches, bunkers and monastery making the Shan army unable to fire,” said a source.
The battles between the Shan army and the Burma Army have begun since 13 March up to date and had injured and killed dozens of civilians including soldiers. Meanwhile, the Burma Army demanded the Shan army to withdraw all of its troops that had moved to the north of Mandalay-Lashio highway. However, the Shan army has yet to give any response and is still active in the areas together with the anti-Naypyitaw Shan State Army (SSA) “South” of Yawd Serk.
Last week, six Burma Army soldiers from Infantry battalion (IB) 152 based in Kholam sub-township of Namzarng township, surrendered to the SSA ‘South’ along with their weapons due to discrimination, abuses and forced labor, according to the SSA ‘South’.