A Dangerous Calculation

The Northern Alliance – Burma (NA-B) Offensives in Shan State


As the Myanmar Government continued to prepare for its ongoing Union Peace Conference to be held in February 2017 a number of attacks occurred in border areas of northern Myanmar’s Shan state on 20 November 2016. An alliance of four ethnic armed groups launched simultaneous attacks on government military outposts and police stations in Muse and Kutkai townships as well as Muse border trade centre. Their attacks also covered Monekoe, Kyukoke, Phangsai, Pangsang, Manken and Kyinsankyawk (Honang).

Led by the Kachin Independence Organisation/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA), the Northern Alliance – Burma (NA-B), which also comprises Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) ostensibly launched the attacks in response to a continuing military offensive launched against its members in August 2016 by the Myanmar military. In a statement released on 21 November 2016, the alliance said,

The Burmese armed forces have been launching offensive attacks in the ethnic territories of Kachin, Kokang, Ta’ang, Arakan and Shan and military pressures are increasingly mounted. The Burmese armed forces have also intensified not only shelling 105 – 120 mm heavy artilleries targeted at innocent civilians but also arresting, torturing and killing indigenous peoples.

Although there are holding discussions between Ethnic Armed Organizations and the Burmese government for a nationwide peace, the Burma army has continued launching more offensive attacks that can break Myanmar’s internal peace. The Burma armed forces have been assaulting to destroy all political and military struggles of the ethnic peoples because they have no will to solve the Myanmar’s political problem by politically peaceful negotiation methods.[i]

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[i] Statement by Northern Alliance, Arakan Army (AA), Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) | November 21, 2016