(Mizzima) - Three members of a Shan State-South (SS-S) militia group were killed and three were wounded when they were attacked by an unknown armed force near Hwe Nam Ha village outside of Lang Ko Township in southern Shan State on Thursday.
The militia leader, Mahajar, who goes by a single name, is a former member of the Mong Tai Army (MTA), and a follower of Kun Sa, the notorious, late drug lord of the area. The MTA surrendered to the Burmese regime in 1995, and the group has around 150 men under its command.
Sai Jeun, a militia coordinator, said they were trying to determine who was behind the attack, which took place when ‘our men were engaged in transporting timber’.
A local Hmong resident said, ‘The Burmese authorities have forbidden them from transporting timber to Thailand and relations between the SSA-S and the local authorities is bad’.
Weapons used in the attack were AK-47s and M16s, which are normally used by SSA-S, sources said.
An official in the SSA-S, who asked not to be named, said, ‘There are several groups that are operating in the Hmong area. Besides the SSA-S, there’s the southern United Wa State Army and the Wa National Army. It was definitely not the SSA-S’.
He said the attack could have been carried out by Burmese troops, trying to disguise themselves as SSA-S troops. Previously, they have used such a ruse to extort money from villagers and to create confusion among cease-fire groups, he said.
Last year, sources said that the regime’s local battalions around Mong Tone, Mong Hsat, Mong Yawng, Mong Pieng, Tachilek and Mong Pan were ordered to create confusion in southern Shan State and to carry out sniper and ambush attacks. Reportedly, SSA-S and UWSA uniforms were ordered from Thai traders.