Lt. Gen. Yawdserk, leader of the Restoration Council of Shan State (also known as the Shan State Army), downplayed Burma Army's attack of his men last Saturday during an interview with S.H.A.N. reporters last night.
Despite the current conflict between the RCSS and the Burma Army, Yawdserk tells S.H.A.N. the Burma Army's attack on his men was not a breach of agreement. He says Infantry 49 (the garrison who attacked) may have been alarmed by the sudden appearance of an RCSS unit in the vicinity, and retaliated with military force as a preemptive measure. In response, the RCSS sent its own besiegers to surround the Burma Army battalion.
“[The garrison] thought we were going to attack them,” he said.
The RCSS unit led by Captain Sai Lake was camping out on Mot Nang Len hill on its way to participate in a survey to be conducted by the Monghta Operations Command (MOC), led by the Burma Army.
The joint survey was a condition agreed to as part of an agreement signed by both parties last May in Kengtung. Its purpose was to survey the resettlement of thousands of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) currently residing near 5 SSA bases located along the Thai-Burma border.
The situation cooled down only after RCSS chief liaison officer, Brig-Gen Sai Lu, contacted Burma Army's Triangle Region Command based in Kengtung. He explained that Captain Sai Lake's RCSS unit was on its way to peaceably meet with the MOC to conduct the survey scheduled to take place the next day.
This was not the first armed incident to occur involving the Burma Army and the RCSS.
Saturday's incident was the 19th armed attack to take place since the ceasefire agreement signed in December of last year. One of the conditions in the agreement was that neither party would attack the other.
The RCSS says it still intends to send representatives into townships along the Thai-Burma border next week to gather feedback from citizens, political parties and militia groups on key political issues.
Still having the ultimate goal of peace in mind, Yawdserk tells S.H.A.N., “[The RCSS] would also want [people] to join the peace monitoring group to be set up in July.”