Shan insurgents agree to withdraw from battle zone

YANGON — Shan insurgents and the Myanmar army have agreed to withdraw their troops within five days from the frontline of a confrontation in Shan State that has claimed at least five dead and 300 injured while displacing thousands of civilians, Shan sources confirmed Thursday.

Talks held on November 23-24 at Yangon office of Union Peacemaking Working Committee between the Shan State Army-North and government delegation concluded with an agreement on the troop withdrawal.

The Shan State Army-North “will move its troops to the north of the road connecting Mongnawng and Monghsu, the Tatmadaw (military) will withdraw its troops from the southern part of the road where fighting is still happening,” said the concluding notes of the talks.

Despite the agreement, it is unlikely that the thousands of Shan civilians displaced by the fighting that broke out in late October in the Mongnawng vicinity will quickly return to their homes, sources said.

“Have they stopped fighting? I’m happy but I cannot believe them,” U San Tha, a refugee from Mongnawng told Frontier. “We have to wait for stability and the end of their fighting.”

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An estimated 10,000 Shan villagers have fled their houses since fighting broke out in late October and spread to many townships across the Shan State, including Taunggyi, Lashio, Monghsu, Kyethi, Mongyang and Lai Hka.

Refugee sources told Frontier that the weeks of fighting had already claimed five dead and some 300 people injured.

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