Namhsan locals run for cover as gunfire breaks out

Namhsan locals run for cover as gunfire breaks out

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has clashed once again with Burmese government forces, this time in Namhsan Township within the Ta’ang [Palaung] Self-Administered Zone.

Residents of Namhsan, which is situated 100 kilometres west of Lashio in northern Shan State, said that gunfire was heard coming from the village of Zayan, just outside the town, on Tuesday evening and continued throughout the next day. A high school, a government office and a sawmill were hit by stray bullets. No casualties have been reported. Schools and shops in Namhsan remained closed on Wednesday as locals hid indoors to avoid being caught in the crossfire.

Burma’s Office of the Commander-in-Chief on Wednesday reported that government troops had been patrolling around a military-owned tea factory southeast of Namhsan town at around 7pm on 10 January when they were ambushed by a unit of around 20 TNLA soldiers. The report from the military chief’s office said that the Ta’ang rebels had attacked the patrol with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, or RGPs.

The report said that, some hours later, a Burmese army outpost in Mongot in neighbouring Kyaukme Township was attacked by 60 Ta’ang rebel soldiers.

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The TNLA is part of an ethnic militia coalition, alongside the Kachin Independence Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and Arakan Army. Collectively known as the Northern Alliance, or Northern Alliance-Burma, their combined forces have been engaged in clashes with the Burmese army in northern Shan State since late last year.

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