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Shan army loses another base

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The Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) yesterday was attacked by the Burma Army with its MA-10 mortars forcing the SSA to retreat from its base, according to local sources.

The Burma Army reportedly fired dozens of shells on the Kawng Sao Merng base, located one mile east of its former HQ Hsengkaew, Hsipaw township, with its MA-`10 mortars and other types of heavy weapons from around 5:00 to 9:00, said a source from Hsengkaew militia group, formerly SSA base security force.

In the attack, the Burma Army used three battalions from Kyaukme based Military Operations Command (MOC) #1, some 300 strong against the SSA wiht a hundred men.

“It was hard to withstand such heavy weapons as the strengths were also unbalanced and on the other hand we were afraid local villagers would be the victims of our counter attacks if we did not leave the area first. We therefore decided to retreat,” said Colonel Sai Htoo, Assistant Secretary General #2, Shan State Progress Party, the political arm of the embattled Shan State Army “North”.

According to the SSA, its strategy on war is never to stick to a static defensive. It is instead to be on a mobile defensive as the strengths between the two sides are unbalanced.

So far the number of death tolls and injuries of the two sides is still unknown, he said. But one of the villagers, identified as Sai Htun, 30, from Hsengkaew village, was killed by the Burma Army.

To date, the Burma Army side is still reportedly deploying more troops to SSA’s new HQ Wanhai, according to local eye witnesses from Kehsi township.

Since March, the Burma Army has been using around 20 battalions of strength attacking on the Shan State and has occupied 4 of the SSA’s core bases plus the last one. The Burma Army was alleged for using chemical weapons in its attack against the SSA, on 3 June in Tangyan township, leaving three of the SSA personnel feeling dizzy and yet to feel better to date, according to the SSA.

The weapons used by the Burma Army produced an abnormal amount of black smoke, while the explosion was quieter than normal mortar shells, said the SSA.

Fighting between the two sides have been three months long since 13 March and had killed dozens of civilians including at least 300 casualties on the Burma Army side in the conflict zones. Most of the civilians were reportedly killed and injured by the Burma Army’s heavy shells, claimed the SSA.

Some hundreds of people are still seeking shelter in the jungle in fear of possible new attacks.

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