The second visit made by 4 military planes around 01:00 yesterday, 9 August, to the Burma Army-Shan State Army (SSA) North war zone in Kehsi township, had sent sleeping villagers into bomb shelters, according to SSA and local sources.
The planes had flown from the south probably from the Namzang airfield.
“We were so frightened no one’s going out to work in the fields when morning came,” said a villager from Wan Nim.
Both SSA and local sources were unable to say whether they were fighters, bombers or reconnaissance planes. “They circled the area for a few minutes and flew south to where they came from,” according to an SSA report.
Maj Sai La, the SSA’s spokesman commented the visit was probably aimed at shaking the morale of the local populace.
This was the second time military planes have paid a call since 13 July, when they were presumably on a bombing mission, “Our positions (between the Burma Army and the SSA) were so close to each other, bombing us wouldn’t have failed to endanger their own people,” said a field officer a few days after the July visit. “Also when the Burmese units used smoke to mark their ground positions, our troops were quick to do the same thereby effectively confusing the pilots.”
Since 18 July, heavy fighting has not been reported. “It is now over 4 months (since the campaign was launched on 13 March) and we have killed or wounded 800 of their soldiers for about 20 of ours (killed or wounded),” Bangkok Post, on 7 August 2011 issue, quoted the SSA’s Col Sai Htoo as saying.
One notable success of the Burma Army is that most of the main crossings on the Salween, which serve as gateways to its ally the United Wa State Army (UWSA) are now in the hands of the attacking forces.
The SSA however says its strategy is not fight a costly positional warfare but “hit hard, run and ambush.”
Mao Zedong, considered China’s 20th century military genius, was quoted a saying when the Kuomintang forces were poised to overrun his Yen’an base: “Keep the territory and lose the people, you’ll lose both. On the contrary, keep the people and lose the territory, you’ll have both”.