Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Patrols recalled following clash

SHAN- All Burma Army units patrolling the countryside in Southern Shan State have been withdrawn leaving the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ free to roam all areas outside heavily barricaded towns and villages, following a 7-hour fight between the two sides last week.

Col Yawdserk (photo)

Reasons for the surprise move by the Burma Army could only be speculated at present, according to SSA South commanders:

• Security in towns in anticipation of Martyrs Day (19 July) commemorating the event in 1949 when Aung San and 8 others, including the popular Shan prince Sao Sam Tun, were assassinated

• Security in towns in preparation for the 2010 elections

• Preparation for a new offensive

“We are definitely on the lookout,” said Col Yawdserk, the SSA leader. “I have instructed all units to be twice on alert.”

The fight on 15 July in Kehsi township had resulted in 11 killed, 1 captured and 5 assorted weapons seized on the Burma Army side. Only 14 reportedly got away, some wounded. “Since 21 May (Shan Resistance Day), we have killed more than 30 and seized more than 20 weapons,” an officer in the field told SHAN matter-of-factly.

The Burma Army in Shan State is said to be preparing for a military showdown with either the SSA South or the ceasefire armies including the United Wa State Army (UWSA) with which it has been on an increasingly sour relationship since last year.

Related report: 11 soldiers killed in rebel ambush, 17 July 2009

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