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Shootout on the border

by admin last modified 2007-03-31 11:43

Night patrols dispatched by the Burma Army and its Shan counterpart bumped into each other last evening resulting in an hour long scuffle, reported Thai and Shan sources this morning.

No.19 - 3/2007
31 March 2007
War
 
Shootout on the border
 
Night patrols dispatched by the Burma Army and its Shan counterpart bumped into each other last evening resulting in an hour long scuffle, reported Thai and Shan sources this morning.
 
The duel took place 3km north of Gawmerng, an eastern extension of Loi Gawwan, the main base of the Shan State Army (SSA) South's Kengtung Force between 19:00-20:00 local time. The SSA patrol managed to extricate itself without a scratch. No casualties on the Burma Army side is known.
 
Both sides beefed up their defenses following the fight. Fresh troops from the Mongkhark-based Light Infantry Battalion 328 were seen reinforcing the Maemaw base, between Gawmerng and Gawhawm (another Shan base west of Gawmerng). Gawmerng is also facing a heavy weapons unit up north.
 
Both the Thai Army and the Burma Army have been fortifying their bases along the Thai border in the wake of a series of incidents that has resulted in the closure of most border passes except for Ranong-Kawsawng (Kawthaung) and Maesai-Tachilek. A local resident reported seeing 7 truckloads of troops moving up to the west from Tachilek on Wednesday (28 March) and another 9 this morning. "The clash with the SSA could therefore be accidental", said a source close to the military.
 
Several Tachilek residents also witnessed Burmese troops moving up to Kuthengnayong (known by Shans as Loi Pupanya), opposite Maesai, the scene of heavy fighting between Thai and Burmese troops in 2001.
 
The relations between the two neighbors have soured since the killing of a Thai paramilitary ranger on 21 March. "Burma has yet to acknowledge, let alone apologize, the incident," said a Thai army source in Maehongson.

New Tension on the border