A Burmese military plane yesterday circled over the battlefield taking place in the three-corner area, where the township boundaries of Kehsi, Mongyai and Hsipaw meet, between the Burma Army and the Shan State Army (SSA) “North” but no bombs were dropped, according to rebel sources.
“It came 3 times: first at 14:00, later at 15:00 and then at 16:00,” according to an SSA officer. “Maybe it wanted to scare us. Or maybe it wanted to boost up the morale of its field troops.”
Sources however were unable to identify the type of the aircraft.
On the SSA side was the 27th Brigade. On the Burma Army side were Infantry Battalions (IB) 286, 287, 131, 9, 67, 22 and Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) 510 and 518. “Our troops are being surrounded by the Burmese troops,” he said. “And the Burmese troops are, in turn, being surrounded by us.”
Following the successful attack of the Nampook base, where roads from Mongyai, Kehsi and Monghsu meet, on 12 July, the SSA had withdrawn. “The Burma Army bombarded the adjacent area surrounding the base with smoke shells at 18:00 yesterday before retaking it,” said another officer.
According to a civilian source, the Burma Army had commandeered civilian motor vehicles in Kehsi to carry supplies and ammunitions to the Nampook front yesterday. “Some civilian drivers were afraid to drive their trucks into the battlefield,” he said. “So the soldiers had to drive themselves.”
Meanwhile, the SSA appears to be waging an all-out guerrilla warfare to ease the pressure on its troops at Nampook. One report says Burma Army troops guarding the coal mining project in Mongkao, 6 miles south of Kehsi, was attacked by an unknown armed group, believed to be the SSA at 10:30.
A separate report from the Sino-Burma border also says SSA and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) fighters are joining hands together in fighting the Burma Army. The two are members of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) formed in February to establish a Union Army.
The SSPP/SSA’s information sheet that came out later contends the planes were two Russian-made MiG 29s.