Myanmar junta ally attacked in northern Sagaing

Anti-regime forces attacked two bases run by the Shanni Nationalities Army (SNA) in northern Sagaing Region on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the group.

The attacks were carried out by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and allied People’s Defence Force (PDF) groups, SNA spokesperson Col Sai Aung Mein told Myanmar Now.

Both incidents occurred in townships bordering Kachin State, where SNA and junta troops were accused of torching a village in Hpakant Township early last month.

One attack took place in Anauk Kone, a village in Banmauk Township, early Wednesday morning, according to Col Sai Aung Mein.

“They started firing heavy artillery at us in the morning, but withdrew after we fired back. Then they fired some more in the evening,” he said.

Another SNA base near Nat Nan, a village in Homalin Township, was also targeted at around the same time, he added.

“We have a front-line base around there. They fired heavy artillery at it on the morning of August 31,” said the SNA spokesperson, adding that the anti-regime forces appeared to be deliberately trying to provoke a conflict in order to expand their territory in the area.

Myanmar Now attempted to reach the KIA’s information officer, Col Naw Bu, for comment, but did not receive a response.

KIA troops at the group’s headquarters in Laiza in 2017 (EPA)

An officer of the Banmauk PDF confirmed that a battle took place in Anauk Kone, but said that he couldn’t disclose any further details without authorisation.

The KIA and its PDF allies have clashed repeatedly with the SNA in recent weeks, according to local sources.

On August 19, PDF forces attacked a coalition of SNA troops and members of the pro-regime Pyu Saw Htee militia in Sagaing’s Paungbyin Township. Fighting was also reported near Nam Taung, a village in Banmauk Township, on August 20.

Following a conference held in Homalin Township last Saturday, the SNA said that it would be collaborating with Myanmar’s military “in accordance with the will of the people.”

The SNA was founded in 1989 and has had clashes with both Myanmar’s military and the KIA in the past.

The group is based in ethnic Shanni areas of Sagaing’s Homalin, Hkamti and Banmauk townships and Mohnyin, Mogaung, Myitkyina and Banmaw townships in Kachin State.

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