Lt-Gen Yawd Serk, leader of anti-Naypyitaw Shan State Army (SSA)’s political wing, Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), has officially declared that his group RCSS/SSA and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) better known as SSA ‘North, have united to fight against “the same enemy” at the 53rd anniversary of the Shan State People’s Resistance Day which fell on 21st May.
“There is only one Shan State Army now. SSA ‘South’ and SSA ‘North’ exist any longer. That is the good news what I would like to share with you on this auspicious day”,” Gen Yawd Serk said at the ceremony held at its Loi Taileng Headquarters, which was attended by over 2,000 participants including local and foreign news agencies. Representatives of the SSA ‘North’ who appeared at the ceremony were led by Colonel Sai Htoo, SSPP’s Assistant Secretary General#2.
“It is clear that we have the same enemy and fighting for the same ideal. We just need to work out the details,” said Yawd Serk.
Colonel Sai Htoo from SSPP shared the same view that they will keep fighting until they achieve justice, self-determination and equality.
“Before, we believed that we could solve the problems with the Burma Army by political means and we concluded ceasefire with them. But their actions didn’t match their words. This is why we decided to return to the struggle,” Sai Htoo said.
The groups say they are in deep discussion for their future strategy. Both sides have reportedly been helping each other in fighting since the Burma Army started the offensive on the SSPP/SSA on 13 March, after it refused to accept the Border Guard Force (BGF) program.
“We have been helping and supporting the SSPP since it was attacked, thought we operate separately,” Yawd Serk added.
For instance, the SSA ‘South’ attacked Tonglao in Mongkeung Township, Shan State South, while SSA North attacked Namlan in Hsipaw township of Shan State North simultaneously on 20 May 2011.Further details of the clashes remain undisclosed.
21 May marks the day when Sao Noi Saw Yanda with 30 other patriots swore the sacred oath to struggle for self-determination and equality in 1958.