Published on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 21:08
Renewed clashes have broken out between the Myanmar army and the Shan State Army (SSA), according to a spokesperson of Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD).
Around 100 people are reportedly taking shelter in a Buddhist monastery after the clashes occurred in some areas of Kyaythee township, northern Shan state on June 20 and 21. This is the most recent of a series of clashes this year between the Myanmar army and the Shan ethnic armed group, displacing civilians and threatening to derail a ceasefire agreement.
"The refugees are not taking shelter in the downtown areas. They are in the Wanpein Monastery, which has to arrange for their meals. The affected areas are in the jungles but they fled in fear," said a local resident from Kyaythee township.
Locals also said there were more clashes on June 23 in Shiwanwit village-tract of the township and reports of heavy weapons firing by the Myanmar army. Some homes were damaged but there have been no causalities reported so far.
The SSA is the armed wing of Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), which reached a ceasefire agreement with the government in January 2012. Since then there have been a series of clashes which threaten to derail any chance for substantive peace. More than 1000 people have fled their homes after the clashes started in Tangyan on March 28 this year.
SNLD Spokesman Sai Lait said the refugees sent a letter to SSPP/SSA complaining that the Myanmar army had detained two people. SSPP therefore contacted SNLD by phone to inform the government's peacemaking committee of the issue.
"SNLD will work out the problem together with the peace committee if it receives an official letter from SSPP," said Sai Lat.
The renewed clashes have occurred after the government's peace group and the SSA/SSPP reached a four-point agreement on May 11. The SSPP/SSA confirmed the clashes gave no details when contacted by the Daily Eleven.
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