The Shan resistance positions along the Thai-Shan State, Burma border are currently under attack. Here is a brief update of the situation.
On 28 April, 2005, the Shan resistance-Shan State Army (SSA), reported that they had just held off a major assault by Wa forces allied with the Burma Army. The SSA lost 5 men dead and many wounded, the Wa lost over 100 men dead. This was the latest of the ongoing assaults on the Shan (SSA) HQs area at Loi Tai Leng. The SSA attempted to negotiate with the Wa forces but were unable to stop the Wa from attacking. Col.Yod Suk, Commander of the SSA said, “No matter who is the victor between the Wa and the Shan, the only real winner will be the dictators of Burma”.
The offensive by the Wa (UWSA under Wei Zhau Kang) began in late March with attacks against SSA patrols and outposts near te Salween river, North and North East of the SSA HQ at Loi Tai Lang. First, SSA patrols were attacked and their patrol bases assaulted. Villages sympathetic to the SSA were also harassed by the Wa forces. The Shan village of Nam Mak Tee was attacked with rifle and machnegun fire in March resulting in the deaths of 3 civilians including one 13 year old girl. Nam Mak Tee and the other villages are located north of the SSA base at Loi Tai Leng, between the Salween river and the Thai border. The SSA base and outlying positions at Loi Tai Lang were attacked in April and the assaults continue. The SSA lost one major hill top out post on 14 April. But, as of yesterday 28 April, the SSA still held all major positions. The over 1,000 IDPs on the Loi Tai Leng base and ridge complex have been moved to a safer area but are still under the SSA care. They will be permitted by the Thai to move down the mountain , south into Thailand if the Wa advance continues and they are put at risk. So far (28 April), there have been no civilian IDPs hurt at Loi Tai Leng. UWSA mortar shells have however, fallen close to the IDP settlement. Due to this threat to the civilian population the SSA moved the IDPs to a safer area in the western and southern area of Loi Tai Leng.
The SSA HQ and fighting positions at Loi Tai Leng are on a long series of ridges that run east to west, north of Pang Ma Pha, Thailand. The north side of the ridge is Shan State, Burma, the south side is Thailand. Loi Tai Leng and the SSA positions are on the Shan State side, straddling the border.
According to reliable reports, earlier this year the Wa (UWSA-South) under Wei Zhau Kang, were threatened by attack form the Burma Army. Wei Zhau Kang worked out the following agreement with the Burma Army: The UWSA forces under Wei Zhau Kang were to attack the Shan resistance (SSA) and take their positions along the Thai border. The Wa would then be spared attack by the Burma Army. The Wa would also gain control of the SSA areas.
Wei Zhau Kang’s UWSA-South forces are attacking the SSA with 3 of their own battalions. They are reinforced by 6 UWSA- North battalions sent down by the UWSA Supreme Commander, Ta Pang (Pao Yu Chang). The attacks are also being reportedly supported by the Burma Army but their role is not clear at this time.
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