As many as 2,000 men women and children have been forced to flee their villages in the Kehsi Mansam area of central Shan State.
Fighting in the region held by the Shan State Army-North has continued since early October and has seen the rebels make steady losses, as a bolstered Burmese army force continues to attack outposts and move into villages.
Residents in Wanlwe, Wanjong, Lishaw, Konlin, Nampamu, Tasangpu, Nawangkhat, Honam and Nape have fled their homes and are currently taking shelter Monghsu township’s Mongnwang town and nearby villages.
“[Villagers] left behind a family member in each household but pretty much everyone else is gone,” one Kehsi Mansam man told DVB. He himself had stayed behind to guard his property.
Earlier this month the Shan State Army-North’s political wing, The Shan State Progress Party was one of 7 armed groups to reject the terms of a pre-drafted Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with Burma’s government.
Now, rebel soldiers maintain a nervous watch on their base at Wanhai as Burmese troops muster in the surrounding hills.
“On 5 October, Burmese Army began mobilising troops – around 200-strong – and they crossed the Nampan creek on 6 October. Some of their units joined up with troops already operating in the area and launched attack on our outpost near Tasangpu,” said a spokesman for the Shan State Army-North, Lt-Gen Sai La.
“On 7 October, general San Nyunt Saw of the Burmese regional military command phoned me and demanded that we withdraw our troops from the area in question. We replied that it would be impossible as these outposts are in place to protect our Wanhai headquarters. We told them that they’ll just have to take Wanhai. And so the fighting continued, he said.
Last week the Shan State Army-North rejected an invitation to Naypyidaw to be part of the lavish declaration of peace in Burma. Now the Burmese army is paying them an unwelcome visit.