The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) attacked a Burma Army base in Mong Yu village of Shan State’s Kutkai Township on Saturday morning, killing six Burma Army soldiers and confiscating weaponry, according to the TNLA.
“We found six dead bodies on the base and we took their guns from them,” said TNLA spokesperson Tar Aike Kyaw.
The fighting lasted for about three hours early Saturday morning and the TNLA troops burned the base down after, he added.
The Ministry of Defense confirmed the attack in a Facebook statement on Saturday and said “some” Burma Army and militia soldiers had died, blaming both TNLA and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) troops.
The TNLA said the KIA was not involved in the attack.
The Burma Army statement said the attack would damage the peace and stability of the country, particularly in the run-up to the 21st Century Panglong peace conference slated for later this month.
Local residents of Kutkai Township reported that the Burma Army restricted the transportation of goods in the region.
“They [Burma Army troops] did not let locals carry bags of rice, they only let them carry two small baskets and small bottles of cooking oil” said Tar Aike Kyaw.
TNLA leader Col Tar Phone Kyaw told The Irrawaddy that the Burma Army recently deployed a lot of troops in TNLA-controlled areas and that he suspected it was preparing to launch an attack.
“We have to attack them as we cannot continue to go about our daily lives,” said Col Tar Phone Kyaw.
The Burma Army refused to allow the TNLA and other armed groups including the Arakan Army and The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) to participate in the 21st Century Panglong peace conference.
The TNLA and the Burma Army have frequently clashed in northern Shan State since the beginning of last year.