Myanmar Army Breaks NCA by Attacking RCSS/SSA-S

06 January 2016
Myanmar Army Breaks NCA by Attacking RCSS/SSA-S
Shan State Army-South Photo: Theingi Tun/Mizzima

New Year's Eve saw the first Myanmar Army attack against forces from an ethnic armed organisation (EAO) that signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with the government on 15 October.
Myanmar Army Battalion No. 278 attacked Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army-South (RCSS/SSA-S) troops in Mong Peng Township in eastern Shan State’s Kengtung District at about 1pm on 31 December in a clash that lasted about an hour, said an RCSS/SSA-S spokesperson.
Col. Sai La of the RCSS/SSA-S said: “They [the Myanmar Army] attacked us. We lost one soldier and another one was injured, but no casualties have been reported from the Myanmar side.”
A source close to the Myanmar Army in Kengtung, who spoke to SHAN on the condition of anonymity, alleged that Battalion No. 278 “got the command” to attack when RCSS/SSA-S troops entered territory claimed by government forces.
Sai La responded by saying that the RCSS/SSA-S has been active in the disputed area in Mong Peng Township since the days of the Mong Tai Army (MTA), the Shan State force led by Khun Sa who later surrendered to the Myanmar military government in 1996.
He also pointed out that the group’s long-time presence in the area could be vouched for by the region’s locals.
He said: “We do not understand why they attacked us.”
Sai Khuensai, an advisor to the RCSS/SSA-S and the managing director of the Pyidaungsu Institute, told SHAN that the Myanmar Army’s actions in Mong Peng might dissuade EAOs who have not yet signed the NCA from signing it and taking an active role in the peace process.
The RCSS/SSA-S was one of eight EAOs who signed the NCA with the government on 15 October, more than 12 EAOs did not sign the NCA. The next step in the country’s peace process is national political dialogue, which is scheduled to begin on 12 January.
In September, SHAN reported that U Hla Maung Shwe, a senior advisor at the Myanmar Peace Center, said that the NCA might only “reduce” fighting. In the same article, Sai La, of the RCSS/SSA-S, worried that clashes could continue as long as the territories of government and ethnic armed groups are not clearly defined.
Courtesy of BNI