The Northern Alliance, a coalition of ethnic armed groups, has launched offensive attacks against the Tatmadaw [Burma Army] in northern Shan State, according to Nai Hongsar, Vice-chairman of United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC).The Northern Alliance, comprised of the Arakanese Army (AA), Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Myanmar National Alliance Army (MNAA), and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), stormed Tatmadaw posts near Muse Town, northern Shan State, killing 9 people and wounding 29 others, including locals, police officials and Tatmadaw personnel.
“In the areas of Kachin and Palaung (Ta’ang), the Tatmadaw has been bombarding for a long time. Especially, after 21st Century Panglong Conference, the fighting has intensified. The local people have faced more hardships as the number of armed engagements increased. The ethnic armed groups in those areas could not deal with defense tactics anymore, and instead they formed an alliance, launching an offensive against the Tatmadaw,” said Nai Hongsar.
Beginning on the morning of November 20, the Alliance intruded and attacked Tatmadaw troops and spread out through 11 locations, including Muse, Muse 105 border Trading Zone, Kukkaine, Nangkham and Panseng.
Many civilians caught in the crossfire took shelter on the hilltop area controlled by the Tatmadaw, making it difficult for the Northern Alliance to secure it.
“This fighting can be a barrier to peace talks. However, on the other hand, this can be a push to finding a peaceful result as fast as possible. We, the UNFC, do not want to stop the talks,” said Nai Hongsar.
The UNFC, including 7 ethnic armed groups, held an extended meeting in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. At the meeting, the Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN) presented a report on the government’s peace talks.
“It is mainly concerning our ethnic areas and how the Tatmadaw’s attacks are very intense. They aim at civilian areas with heavy weaponry. The government and the Tatmadaw do not seem like they want a ceasefire. Therefore, we ethnic armed groups, the TNLA and KIA, have decided to launch attacks back. The attacks from the Tatmadaw keep becoming more intense, so to solve that problem, we are cooperating and started this reactive offensive,” said Col. Tar Bone Kyaw, General Secretary of TNLA.
Local media reported that the fighting between the government’s Tatmadaw and Northern Alliance has taken place every day, and the Tatmadaw has also used major weapons as well as airstrikes dropping bombs against the Northern Alliance.