Shan State Army-North and govt discuss troop clashes

File photo of troops from the Shan State Army-North on patrol. (PHOTO: Reuters)
A Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) delegation met with Burmese government officials in Naypyidaw on Tuesday to discuss how to prevent future clashes from happening between the ethnic armed group and the Burmese army in Shan State.

Khun Hseng, secretary general of the SSA-N, said that these clashes were happening in Kensi Mansam Township, home to the ethnic armed group’s Wanhai headquarters. He added that the mobilisation and reinforcement of government troops have led to heightened tensions between the two sides.

“We discussed how we can reduce tensions in the area — to prevent exacerbation of the issues and to keep clashes from breaking out – by demarcating territories from each side,” Khun Hseng said. “We believe that for now, the withdrawal of troops from both sides will relieve the situation.”

The establishment of a joint committee to monitor clashes was also proposed during the meeting, he said, adding that “delicate” issues such as the withdrawal of troops or demarcation of territory would take further negotiation.

According to the SSA-N, roughly seven Burmese army battalions entered the area and took positions across the town last week, causing locals to flee their homes in fear of renewed fighting. The SSA-N reiterated the need for the Burmese government to control their troops and their actions.

Union Minister Aung Min, deputy chairman of the government’s Internal Peace-making Work Committee and the government’s chief negotiator, joined the meeting, along with Union Minister Thein Zaw and deputy attorney-general Tun Tun Oo.

Although the SSA-N reached a union-level ceasefire agreement in 2012 with the government, more than 100 clashes have erupted between both sides since then.

By NANG MYA NADI (DVB)

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