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Why does battles maintain in Shan State of Burma?

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Political stability in Burma's Shan state looks as if insecure as the government's army is keen on fighting rather than empowering peace talks. The ceasefire agreement between Naypyitaw and SSPP/SSA was signed on 28 January 2012; however, it seems sham and false since the government's soldiers never stop their operations so far.

Analysts believe seeking temporary ceasefire with some ethnic armed groups including Shan State Army by the government seems to welcome foreign direct investment, rather than genuine peace.

The Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) has lost its camp at Red Ruby Mountain in Mongsu, southern Shan State after heavy attacks by the Burma Army, according to Shan Herald Agency for News on 19 June.

An SSA-N commander at the frontline said, "The Burma Army started attacking us at Ruby Mountain in Mong-su on June 11, 2014. They fired at us with heavy shells for two days, so local people were affected by the fierce battle. On the order of our headquarters, we withdrew from the camp."

He also said that the Burma Army forced people to work as their porters and human shields at the frontline. The SSA troops were requested by the people not to ambush and shoot at the frontline.

"If we attacked, the villagers and porters would have got gunshot," spokesperson of SSA/SSPP Major Sai Hla said.

The Burma Army has recently deployed more troops in northern Shan State around SSA-N and United Wa State Army (UWSA). The situation is still tense between the two sides, according to Shan News.

Moreover, on June 18, a column of government army troops took control of an outpost controlled by the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) a group consisting of ethnic Ta'ang (or Palaung) who are allied with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), referring a KIA officer based in northern Shan state, Kachin News Group said.

The Ngaw-Nga outpost is located in the Nampaka area of Kutkai township in north west Shan state, near the route of the Shwe gas pipeline in territory long held by the KIA's 4th Brigade. TNLA forces withdrew from the post at about 10 pm local time after Burma army units from Infantry Battalion No. 123 and No. 145 launched repeated attacks, the KIA officer said.

On 25 June, a clash was broke out between joint forces of TNLA, KIA and MNDAA (Ko-kant Army) and Division 88 of government army near Nant-sai-bar village, Mong-koe sub-township, Muse district of northern Shan State. The government army launched an offensive against joint forces of TNLA, KIA and MNDAA troops. Both sides used heavy weapons shelling on each other.

During combats on 25-26 June, joint forces of TNLA, KIA and MNDAA had confiscated several weapons and ammunitions from government soldiers including heavy-guns RPGs and 60 mm. Five government soldiers were killed and no casualties from ally forces.

In addition, there were also two clashes between TNLA and government army in Kyauk-me township. This was the third fighting in a day, TNLA New and Information Department said.

Looking back into last year, the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) said in a statement dated 5 April 2013 that atrocities by Burmese troops in a new military operation against the Shan State Army North have caused over 1,000 villagers, from 16 villages in Tang-yan, to flee from their homes during the two-week time.

Since February 2013, thousands of Burmese troops and artillery have been deployed to pressure the SSA-N to withdraw from its territories along the Salween River, near Tangyan. There have been armed clashes, and Burmese troops have been laying land mines and committing human rights violations against local civilians, the statement says.

Although peace talks are taking place, there seems to be no end in sight in the war against the ethnic rebels, especially in Kachin and the Shan states. For instance, the President Thein Sein Government has reached a truce with the Shan State Army (SSA), but the Government Army seems no notice of the agreement.

Despite signing a ceasefire agreement with Naypyitaw, the Shan State Progress Party / Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) has often facing military threat made by the Government Army, referring local sources, Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) said.

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)

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