A top military official has laid blame for recent fighting in Shan State on the Shan State Army-North, saying the group trespassed onto land under government control in violation of a 2012 peace agreement.

Major General Kyaw Nyunt, vice minister for defence, said fighting between the SSA-N and the Tatmadaw started on June 26 in Kyethi township after the SSA-N encroached on government land.

The issue was raised in parliament on July 16 by U Sai Awan Saing Mong, a representative for Kyethi township who urged the government to seek an end to the fighting for the sake of locals who had been displaced by the skirmishes. He also asked the government to deliver aid to those in need.

Around 200 residents from Barsaung, Ngulain and Loikhaw villages have sought refuge in a local monastery, leaving them unable to tend to their farms.

“This is cultivation season but villagers were forced to leave about 200 acres of their land because of fighting. Further, we have heard that there are human rights abuses in the conflict zone,” said Daw Nan Whar Nu, a Shan State representative.

She said aid had been delivered from the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, Union Solidarity and Development Party and Shan civil society groups, but more was needed.

Maj Gen Kyaw Nyunt laid the blame squarely on the SSA-N, accusing the armed group of using locals to their advantage.

“SSA-N doesn’t want to resolve the problem peacefully. They are playing tricks and using residents as a stepping-stone. Displaced people could return home anytime if they [SSA-N] pull out their troops in accord with our agreement. The Tatmataw is ready to give necessary aid to them [displaced people],” he said.

U Thein Zaw, the vice chairman of Union Peacemaking Working Committee, said members of his group met with SSA-N representatives on July 8 in Nay Pyi Taw to seek a resolution to the fighting.

According to a statement released by the Shan Human Rights Committee on July 10, more than 800 Tatmadaw soldiers have been deployed in villages of Kyithe township.

Maj. Gen Kyaw Nyunt said SSA-N troops moved into Wonwab village tract, a violation of the peace agreement signed in June 2012.

Translation by Zar Zar Soe

Link: http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/11102-ssa-n-to-blame-for-fighting-says-vice-minister.html