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Shan State tension increases as new government searches for peace

By Mizzima  •  April 5, 2016

The elusive road to peace remains entrenched in Shan State, as Myanmar’s first democratically elected civilian government took office last week.

Over the past year, the military has fought with at least six different armed groups in Shan State, the Shan Herald News Agency reported this week.

The day President Htin Kyaw took office, army troops exchanged fire with the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), a group that didn’t even exist when former President Thein Sein became president in early 2011.

In recent months, tensions between Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAO) that signed the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and those that have not signed have been increasing.

“A worrying development since the signing of the NCA has been the increased division between signatory and non-signatory EAOs,” said a report recently released by Burma Partnership (BP), an NGO led by longtime activist Khin Ohmar.

In the weeks leading up to the official handover of power to the National League for Democracy, the situation in northern Shan state appeared to have become even more precarious with the arrival of more military reinforcements, said the ethnic news agency.

Burma Partnership noted that the government reinforcements has put civilians under further stress.

The BP report said the number of IDPs [Indigenous Displaced Persons] as a result of armed conflict reportedly increased up to 662,000 in 2015, due to 70,000 fleeing war.

A national ceasefire agreement that ends all fighting between the government and ethnic armed groups and between ethnic groups themselves is at the top of the new government’s agenda.

View the original post here: http://mizzima.com/news-domestic/shan-state-tension-increases-new-government-searches-peace

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