The Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) has accused the Burmese army of violating the terms of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) by arbitrarily detaining civilians in central Shan State’s Mong Kung Township.
The allegation follows a report by Burmese military mouthpiece Myawady Daily that government forces had last week raided an SSA-S detention facility in Tonlaung village-tract and rescued 25 civilians held prisoner by the group.
The SSA-S claims the facility was a rehabilitation centre where local drug offenders were treated. In return, the Shan militia accused the Burmese army of smearing its reputation – an act of slander that would be deemed a violation of the NCA.
“The report in the state media and Myawady Daily omitted to mention the fact that it was a drug rehabilitation centre that the Tatmadaw [Burmese armed forces] raided. They only reported that they ‘rescued’ civilians detained by us,” said the SSA-S’s Peace Making Committee secretary Lt-Col Sai Nguen.
“That hurt our reputation, and we deem it a violation of Article 5(f) of Chapter 3 in the NCA – a clause that prohibits all parties, Burmese government forces and ethnic armed groups alike, from providing false news to domestic or international media that damages the other’s reputation.”
The SSA-S claims that all signatories to the accord have a mandate to fight narcotics in areas under their control, employing means such as: detaining and punishing drug dealers; sending addicts to rehabilitation camps; and implementing crop substitution programmes.
Officially recognised as the Restoration Council for Shan State/Shan State Army or RCSS/SSA, the group says it is planning to send a formal letter of complaint against the Tatmadaw to the government’s Ceasefire Joint Monitoring Committee-Union and the National Peace and Reconciliation Centre.