Friday, July 17, 2009

11 soldiers killed in rebel ambush

By Hseng Khio Fah

(Shanland) -11 Burma Army soldiers were killed in an ambush staged by the anti-Naypyitaw Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ on 15 July in southern Shan State, according to SHAN sources.

Patrolling Burmese soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #515 based in Laikha was attacked by the SSA fighters between Hsa Lay and Namphart villages, Mongyai village tract, Mongnawng sub-township, Kehsi Township, in the morning on that day.

The SSA confirmed that the attack was launched by a unit of its fighters Awng Pay Hseuk Force, under the command of Lt-Col Pawng Kherh because it could no longer tolerate the Army’s excesses.

The said Burmese soldiers had been patrolling in the area in cooperation with Major Sai Ta from Namhu militia whose leader Moeng Zeun was killed on 24 May. The group has been harassing local villagers such as taking villagers’ livestock, money and luxury items and some villagers were physically abused, said Sai Hseng Merng, the deputy SSA spokesperson.

The Burma Army lost 11 while another one was captured and their weapons were seized by the attackers. Among the casualties were 7 non-commissioned officers and 4 privates. Their names were not identified.

There were no casualties on the SSA side. The attack was 7 hours long from 11:00 to 18:00.

The assorted weapons: 1 60 mm mortar (1 shell), 1 79 MA (9 shells), 3 MA 1/ 2 (657cartridges), 15 MA magazines, 3 hand grenades, 100 machine gun shells, 9 back packs, 5 handbags, 9 hats and 9 uniforms and others materials including medicines.

Both sides have already fought against each other twice this month. One was on 8 July in Panglong with a 18 strong men led by Major Kyaw Zwar Oo from Laikha based Infantry Battalion# 64, which lasted for 30 minutes from 6 to 6:30 pm. 2 on the Burma Army side Lieutenant Kyaw Thu and Sergeant Kyi Min were killed and 3 others were injured including Major Kyaw Zwar Oo, according to the anti-SSA webpage on 9 July.

“If they [Burmese soldiers] are still hurting the villagers and committing violations, we [SSA] may attack them wherever they are. Because the SSA is holding guns not only to fight but also to protect its people and it is not a ceasefire group,” Sai Hseng Merng added.

There were 35 clashes between the Burma Army and the SSA since November 2008 until June 2009 when 31 on the Burma Army soldiers killed and many weapons were seized, while two of SSA side killed and1 weapon lost, according to the SSA’s report submitted at the bi-annual meeting held in June.

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