As the two sides: Naypyitaw and Loi Taileng (the main base of the Shan State Army “South”) gear up for further progress in their peace talks, 3 more clashes had already taken place, according to rebel and local sources.
The first and second clashes occurred in Loilem township and the third in Mongpan township, opposite Thailand’s Maehongson:
9 May 2012 : At 23:40 with Kunhing-based Infantry Battalion 246 near the deserted village of Pangnim, Sanien Tract, Panglong sub-township
10 May 2012 : 16:00-17:30 at Phalai-Tawngha, Tan-ae tract, Panglong sub-township with Laikha based Infantry Battalion 64
10 May 2012 : Mongnawng-based Infantry Battalion 286, some 180 strong at Lawng Mark Oh, north of Homong sub-township seat
According to the Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), as the SSA South is officially known, the casualties are yet to be known. But sources in Mongton, opposite Chiangmai, said two on the Burma Army side were killed and an unknown number wounded. “The Burma Army is sending reinforcements to Homong (which is near the Loi Taileng base of the SSA South),” said a source.
The SSA leader Lt-Gen Yawd Serk, following the 14th clash in Mongyawng-Tachilek area against a pursuing column of the Burma Army in March, had ordered to shoot any Burma Army units caught moving outside main motor roads without prior notification.
Altogether 17 clashes have taken place between the two sides since the ceasefire agreement was signed on 2 December 2011.
“One of the topics to be discussed at the next round of talks understandably is on how best to avoid future clashes,” said a member of the SSA delegation.
The third formal meeting between the two sides is due to take place in the weekend in Shan State East capital Kengtung, 160 km north of Tachilek. Gen Soe Win, Deputy Armed Forces Chief and Army Chief, who was appointed as a vice chairman of the newly reorganized negotiating working committee, is expected to participate.