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The Burmese army and the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) have sustained causalities amid two weeks of fighting in Burma’s northeast, according to both sets of belligerents.
Military-mouthpiece Myawaddy reported 37 clashes between 6–18 October near the rebels’ headquarters in Wanhai, in central Shan State’s Kehsi Mansam Township.
The bodies of seven rebel soldiers and their firearms were recovered by government troops, Myawaddy reported on Tuesday. The notice acknowledged that the Burmese army suffered losses, but did not confirm a figure.
SSA-N spokesperson Col. Sai La told DVB that the rebel group estimated more than 30 Burmese troops had been killed, but did not comment on losses suffered by his rebels. He added that the Burmese army had sent in some 1000 additional troops as reinforcements on Tuesday 20 October.
“On 17 October, the army sent 12 trucks carrying weapons to Monghsan from Hkolam. On Tuesday morning, they sent troops and four more trucks. Our units are facing them off in the village of Mongak in Wansot village-tract. Gunfire could break out at any moment,” he said.
“We will continue to fight to defend ourselves.”
Naypyidaw says it ordered the Shan force to stay within the premises of its Wanhai base, in accordance with a pre-existing bilateral ceasefire agreement.
State media reported on Tuesday that Burmese troops had attacked outposts 16 kilometeres outside of Wanhai, after the SSA-N refused to pull back.
On the same day, the SSA-N released a statement claiming the armed group had not violated the ceasefire agreement, as attempts by Naypyidaw forces to limit the groups operations was not a part of the bilateral agreement. SSA-N claims Burmese military forces had ignored SSA-N troops some 160 kilometres outside of Wanhai, but were attacking their troops at a closer position to the headquarters, intentionally targeting the area.
Earlier this month the SSA-N’s political wing, the Shan State Progress Party, was one of seven armed groups to reject the terms of a pre-drafted Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with Burma’s government. The rebel group’s pre-existing bilateral accord with Naypyidaw made it eligible to join the nationwide pact. However the SSA-N stated they would sign only when the deal included all rebel groups in Burma.
Read more about the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement here.
Read more about SSA-N here.