The Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) has rejected an order from the Burma Army to withdraw from positions east of a motorway splicing Mong Nawng, Mong Hsu and Kyethi townships in central Shan State, with the group now bunkering down to defend itself against further attacks.
Government troops had given the Shan armed group five days to comply with the order or risk further fighting. The deadline passed on Sunday.
“We decided at a meeting not to withdraw our troops,” said a captain from the SSA-N who joined the two-day dialogue at the group’s Wan Hai headquarters in Kyethi Township. “Withdrawing our troops would not mean they will stop attacking us. They will keep asking us for more withdrawals.”
The ethnic armed group has not yet released an official statement outlining their decision not to withdraw amid a conflict that first flared on Oct. 6, leaving thousands of civilians displaced.