The Shan State Army claims continuing attacks on their bases by government troops is disrupting the peace process agreed between the two sides in February this year.
The Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) signed a ceasefire in February, but recent attacks by government soldiers has left other ethnic armed groups to consider if the military ceasefires a tactic to expose them to attack.
Major Sai Lauk Hsaing, of the Shan State Army, the armed wing of the RCSS told Karen News that the current situation has created a difficult environment in which to build trust between them and the government.
“Government troops are pressuring ethnic ceasefire groups by using its military and strategically launching attacks on our bases. We see these acts are an obstacle for us to build trust with the government.”
The SSA and the government reached a ceasefire agreement in February this year, but recent attacks by the government troops on July 30th and 31st has led other ethnic ceasefire groups to start to doubt the government’s military motives.
The Shan Herald Agency for News reported that government troops launched an operation against the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ in the Loi Ye mountain range, near Namzang Township earlier this week.
Major Sai Lauk Hsaing said that the RCSS/SSA have written a letter demanding an explanation for the attacks to both the government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee and President Thein Sein, but so far have not received a response. Major Sai Lauk Hsaing told Karen News that it is his organisations hope that an end to the hostilities can be made immediately.
“We are trying to avoid any [hostile] activities that shouldn’t be carried out during the agreed peace process. We also hope that the government will keep to their promises and stop attacking us.”
According to local sources, Shan civilians on the ground are still facing human right abuses committed by the government’s army.
“We don’t trust this peace process and the situation is still far away from a lasting peace.”
The RCSS/SSA and government delegates reached and signed a ceasefire agreement that included 11 key points on February 16, in Taunggyi Town in Shan State.
Since the ceasefire agreement, there have been 27 armed clashes between the government troops and the SSA.