Jan 30, 2008 (DVB), A four-hour clash between the Shan State Army-South and Burmese government troops took place in Shan state recently, causing deaths on both sides, said the SSA-S.
SSA-S spokesperson major Sai Lao Hseng said the fight took place on 21 January when 40 soldiers from the State Peace and Development Council’s Light Infantry Battalion 517 ran into SSA-S troops near Mai Nam village group in Kyay Kyi township.
"We had one death on our side and seven government troops were killed. Five of these died during the clash and the other two died in hospital from their wounds," said Sai Lao Hseng.
"This is the longest battle so far this year and the highest number of SPDC deaths."
Sai Lao Hseng said government troops had been making advances into Shan state to develop trade links for the sale of natural resources, and this had led to regular clashes.
"They are sending in more troops and expanding the highways in Shan state to develop better trade routes to sell the timber and gems which can be found here," he said.
"That narrows down our territory and forces us into contact with their troops more often, which means that we have small clashes with government troops nearly every day in central Shan state."
Reporting by Saw Kanyaw