Only two days after Burma went to the polls, the Burmese army stepped up their military campaign against Shan State Army-North (SSA-N).
According to SSA-N representatives, government forces employed fighter jets as well as mounting a heavy ground assault to attack the rebel group’s position.
SSA-N, also known by its political wing Shan State Progressive Party, released a statement claiming positions near its headquarters in Wanhai village, in Monghsu, were the target of a combined attack by army troops on the ground, and at least four Burmese air force planes.
The militia confirmed that fighting was ongoing as of 4am on 18 November, as Burmese artillery units based in Kyumauk continued shelling the rebels.
Maj. Sai La, an SSA-N spokesperson, told DVB on Wednesday: “The Burmese army has been attacking our positions regularly – about every two days since 29 October, when they started using the planes. They bombed us using Mi-35 attack helicopters and planes for two days straight,” he said.
Thousands of locals have reportedly been displaced amidst the fighting, with the SSA-N reporting hundreds of schoolchildren being among those forced to flee.
Nang Kawng Kham, a representative of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy in Monghsu, told DVB that residents are fearful in their neighbourhoods due to the conflict and recent bomb explosions.
“Yesterday [Tuesday] evening, there was an explosion … in ward-4. Nobody was injured as it happened outside a house and the street was empty. Residents in the town these days are too afraid to go outside after 7pm. According to the authorities, the explosion was caused by a bomb – they also found another device that was unexploded, and managed to diffuse it,” said Nang Kawng Kham.
Meanwhile, the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation arrived in Lashio on Tuesday to assist in providing supplies for families displaced by the conflict in Monghsu and surrounding areas.
The Foundation reported that they distributed more than 1,000 blankets, rice, soybeans, and 200 kettles for boiling water to make it safe to drink.
Read more about the conflict in Shan State here.