Fire in Shan Gem Town Wa
Fire in Shan Gem Town Wa - Junta Conflict Led To The Blaze
Thousands of houses and shops were destroyed in a fire which erupted late last March in the booming Shan gem town of Monghsu, according to sources coming to the border.
On 30 March, the Maniyadana Gem Market in Monghsu, Southern Shan State, burst into flame which consumed "not less than a thousand buildings", according to eye witnesses.
The fire was reported to have started at a discotheque operated by an officer from the United Wa State Army. According to the sources, both the Burmese and the Wa soldiers have been accusing each other of starting the fire.
Although few were sure how the blaze started, most of them were certain it began with the growing tension between the SPDC and the UWSA.
In February, a dispute arose between the two sides, when the Was stopped an SPDC convoy and released their officers who were arrested easier by the Burmese Army. It resulted in the ransacking of the Wa community in Monghsu and forced relocation of several Wa families back into Wa territory across the Salween. (Monghsu is on the western side and the Wa Territory is on the eastern side).
"So it could have been either one", said one source. "Only time will tell which was the real culprit".
Shans had joined Burma in 1947 under the treaty called Panglong Agreement which guaranteed Full Autonomy, Human Rights and Democracy for them. They have been fighting against successive Rangoon governments since the terms of agreement were violated. Their main party is the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy that won the General Elections in the Shan State in 1990 and their central armed movement is the Shan States Army.