Parliament accepts urgent Shan State ceasefire discussion

NAY PYI TAW — An urgent proposal to discuss an immediate ceasefire between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Restoration Council of Shan State in Kyaukme township, northern Shan State, has been accepted for discussion by the Lower House of Union parliament.

Tabled on Tuesday by Shan Nationalities League for Democracy MP Sai Tun Aung, who represents the township in the Pyithu Hluttaw, the motion received the support of 412 lawmakers in the 440-member chamber, indicating support for the motion from the chamber’s 110 MP military bloc.

“Due to the fighting, there are about 3000 war refugees in 17 camps in Kyaukme township. We urge Shan State government and Union government to take urgent action to end the suffering of these people,” Sai Tun Aung told Tuesday’s session.

He added that an armed group active in the area had seized nine villagers in the township on February 6 and killed six of the captives the following day, in addition to taking a village abbot into custody and burning down three homes in Nyaungbinhla village. He said these events had been confirmed by the local township administrator and police force.

Sai Tun Aung’s motion was supported by Daw Nan Khan Aye, SNLD MP for nearby Namtu township.

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The RCSS and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army have been engaged in sporadic fighting across various locations in northern Shan State since late last year, with around 5,000 civilians now believed to have been displaced. Numerous reports allege the Myanmar military intervening in the conflict on the side of the RCSS.

On February 10, two Ta’ang civil society organisations alleged that the RCSS had attempted to forcibly recruit 400 ethnic Ta’ang villagers from their homes in Mongkaung township, southeast of Kyaukme.

The United Nationalities Federal Council is attempting to broker its own ceasefire with the assistance of the Shan State Progressive Party, an insurgent group based that came under sustained attack by the military the week before the government signed its National Ceasefire Agreement with eight non-state armed groups on October 15, including the RCSS.

The military assault against the SSPP continued until shortly after the November 8 general election.

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