Wed 22 Dec 2004
Filed under: News,On The Border
The Shan commander whose units are active in eastern Shan State has denied last week’s ambush that killed a junta colonel had anything to do with the Shan State Army.
Lt-Col Gawn Zeun, Commander of the SSA’s Kengtung Front, who has just returned from the annual meeting at a Shan base across Maehongson, categorically spurned off allegations that his fighters were responsible for the ambush on 10 December (S.H.A.N. had reported as 7 September) that resulted in 4 dead, including Col Khin Maung Hla, Tactical Commander from Monghsat, and 7 wounded.
According to him, the attack took place at midday between Mongtoom and Loi Hsarmhsoong on the way to Monghsat. “The place was thick with Wa and Lahu militia units, apart from the Burmese troops,” he stated. “Beside, we didn’t have any advance warning of his coming to stage an attack.”
Explosions were heard across Hua Maekham, Mae Fah Luang District, Chiangrai province, west of the SSA’s Loi Kawwan base, also this morning. “That wasn’t us either,” he said. “The only thing we know is that a fight was taking place between (Tachilek-based) Light Infantry Battalion 359 and an unidentified armed force.”
He thought it would take some time to find out what was happening. “Maybe someone wants an excuse to whip up a new war along the border,” he ventured.
The Burma Army and Col Yawdserk’s Shan State Army have already fought three battles on the border since Thaksin Shinawatra came into power, the third one in May-June 2002. Since then, the SSA, together with its allies, the Karen National Union and Karenni National Progressive Party, have been pressured to behave themselves and not to fight unless attacked.