All militia units across from townships in the Shan State North, under the command of the Northeastern Region Command (NERC), were instructed to closely watch every movement of the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ and Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South, according to local sources.
“Every unit was ordered to take responsibility for its assigned area and to inform to the top in time,” said a source close to militia units.
According to him, the said order was issued at the meeting in Lashio headquarters called by the regional commander Brig-Gen Aung Kyaw Zaw on 15 May, a day after one of its police checkpoints in Tangyan, 83 miles southwest of Lashio, was destroyed by unknown culprits who also injured one policeman.
The said militia units were Manparng and Mongha militia units from Tangyan, Kawngkha militia led by Mahtunaw, and U Myint Lwin, U T Khun Myat, Panhsay U Kyaw Myint and U Keng Mai, from Kutkhai, Muse and Namkham townships.
“The actions have been taken because the Burma Army knew that the SSA ‘North’ and SSA ‘South’ are planning to infiltrate into areas stretching from Lashio to Kyaukme and Mongmit townships,” another source who is close to the Burma Army.
Following the order, Manparng, Mongha and Mahtunaw units were ordered to keep their eyes in areas west of Lashio to Kyaukme, Namtu and Mongmit townships while Myint Lwin, U Kengmai, U Ti Khun Myat and Panhsay U Kyaw Myint units, who are also elected representatives from Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), were assigned to take over in the areas from Kutkhai to Namkham townships where half of the areas are operated by SSA ‘South’.
The said areas are former territories of the SSA ‘North’ where it was pressured to move out in 2005. Since 13 March, clashes between the Burma Army and the SSA spread into those areas north of the Mandalay-Lashio highway from areas in Shan State South as the SSPP/SSA troops returned to its former areas.