The Myanmar Army has reportedly suffered heavy losses in recent heavy fighting against troops from the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) in northern Shan State.
The SSPP/SSA and the Myanmar Army fought intensely in the Pong Woe area south-east of Kyaukme Township from 12 to 14 May. According to Shan military commanders and local sources the government forces are believed to have lost a number of officers during the clashes,
When asked for a comment by S.H.A.N. an SSPP/SSA information officer said: “The Myanmar Army suffered a heavy loss in the battles on the 12th and the 14th. Some men from our side have also been killed as well. We have been living there for a long time. It seemed like they were coming to clear us away. They were trapped. That’s why many people died from their side. We don’t want to fight. We are living in our own place. We will defend if they come to attack us.”
The SSPP/SSA and a regiment under the Myanmar Army’s North Eastern Command conducted a joint inspection of some military camps in Tanyang Township on 12 May. Previously tensions were high between the two armies in the Loi Say-LoiLeng ridge area in Tanyang Township, but fighting did not break out there. Instead, fighting broke out in the Pong Woe area of Kyaukme Township, which is situated on the southern section of the Mandalay-Muse Road.
According to observers, the Myanmar Army took advantage of last month’s clashes between the TNLA/PSLF and the SSPP/SSA along the northern section of the Mandalay-Muse road and attacked the SSPP/SSA. This was done because the military wants to secure control over the southern section of the Mandalay-Muse Road.
The Myanmar Army also used combat helicopters in the battle with the SSPP/SSA. Over 700 people displaced by the conflict fled to Naung Pain Village and Kyaukme in Kyaukme Township due to the clashes, according to local residents that have been assisting the war refugees.
The TNLA has also announced that an intense battle broke out between the TNLA/PSLF and the Myanmar Army along the northern section of the Mandalay-Muse Road on 15 May.
According to the TNLA, the two armies fought near KwinSalin Village in Kyaukme Township on the morning of May 15th. Intense battles have also broken out near Manei Village in Mantong Township, which is located in the Palaung Self-Administered Zone, and the Myanmar Army has also suffered many losses.
The Myanmar Army has yet to release any information or comment about the recent clashes in the northern Shan State.