Shan armed groups fight for 3 days

Three days of skirmishes between the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) broke out in Mantong Township, northern Shan State, according to the TNLA.

Frequent fighting started last November and has continued despite calls from CSOs and residents for peace talks.  

Mong Aik Kyaw confirmed on June 15 that the clashes took place near Tarlet village.  

“Shan and Ta'ang ethic villagers are facing difficulties. The RCSS joined the Tatmadaw [army] to restrict our activities for political gain. The fighting seemed unavoidable. We are sorry for villagers. If the RCSS's troops moved around like they did before signing the peace deal with the government then this would not be happening,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Tar Phone Kyaw, general secretary of the TNLA.

Representatives from the RCSS and TNLA told the media that they were willing to settle the conflict through negotiations, but they could not do it yet, saying it was not possible to hold talks at the moment.

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), formed of nine armed groups had tried to mediate. Both sides agreed to meet in April but fighting continued in early May. The TNLA is a member of the UNFC.

“The villagers suffer the worst. The armed groups should meet and negotiate. Removing political grudges and ending the fighting should be priorities,” said Sai Leik, spokesperson for the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, on June 10.