Fighting broke out between the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) and Burmese government forces in Ta Pha Saung, an area located in Shan State’s Kaese Township.
At least five battles took place starting early on Thursday morning, according to SSA-N spokesperson Col. Khun Sai.
“The government troops launched an attack at 5:45am on two of our jungle outposts, including the Ta Pha Saung outpost, after which they began attacking three more outposts. As of now we are still having sporadic firefights,” he said.
The government forces involved in the attack belong to the Northeast Regional Command, and included troops from the 247th and 248th Light Infantry Battalions, as well as the 248th and 523rd Infantry Battalions. Altogether, a combined force of eight battalions attacked four SSA-N military posts, said Col. Khun Sai.
The SSA-N colonel speculated that injuries were sustained on both sides, although he said there were no immediate reports of causalities.
Col. Khun Sai accused the government of undermining the ongoing peace process by intentionally attacking the SSA-N outposts.
“We’ve seen the Burmese army intentionally launching unprovoked attacks against us because they don’t want to see peace,” he said.
The SSA-N colonel added, “We have been very patient because we’re engaged in the peace process, and we have even accepted their demands to withdraw from certain areas, but the Burmese army has been eager to keep picking fights. We didn’t start this conflict and demand that the government forces show some dignity by withdrawing their troops.”
He said he believed the attacks were likely carried out because SSA-N troops refused a previous order from the Burmese army to leave the Ta Pha Saung area.
Despite the order, the SSA-N told the government at a meeting in Naypyidaw in July that Shan troops could not be withdrawn from their Ta Pha Saung posts.