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SSPP declares war on Myanmar junta

Published : 07 May 2024 10:34 PM | Updated : 07 May 2024 10:34 PM

As the Myanmar conflict continues to worsen, it is interesting that a ‘declaration of war’ by an Ethnic Armed Organisation made last month received scant or no serious media attention.

The Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP) has officially declared war on the Military Council, asserting that seeking political resolutions through conventional means is now futile.

Vice President Lieutenant General Sao Khun Hsai made the declaration during a speech at the SSPP’s 60th-anniversary celebrations and it was further publicised on the party’s Facebook page, SSPP Info, on 24 April.

The main reason given for declaring war with the junta was because the junta has undermined the 1947 Panglong Agreement it made with ethnic groups and is instead ignoring the desires of ethnic groups and being driven by nationalist ideologies, like many previous military governments.

“In the 77 years since the Panglong Agreement, our attempts to engage politically have been thwarted by successive military regimes, which have oppressed ethnic minorities and disregarded the Agreement’s terms. Following the military council’s seizure of power, the political landscape in Myanmar became untenable for negotiations and peaceful resolutions. Faced with an intolerable situation, we have no choice but to pursue the path of armed revolution”, said Lieutenant General Sao Khun Hsai.

Despite the SSPP/SSA (Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army) entering preliminary ceasefire agreements at both state and federal levels in 2012 under the Thein Sein government, irregular clashes with the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army) continued, particularly from 2015 to 2017 when the Tatmadaw launched attacks on Wan Hai, in Kehsi Township, Shan State, where the SSPP headquarters is located, resulting in fierce fighting.

Even following the February 2021 coup, SSPP representatives engaged in two rounds of discussions with delegates from the junta regime’s Peace Negotiation Team in 2021 and 2022 in Nay Pyi Taw. During these meetings the junta rejected the SSPP’s demands for an autonomous state within Shan State.

Established on 24 April, 1964, the Shan State Army (SSA) serves as the military wing of the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), founded in 1971. Both have their headquarters in Wan Hai, Kehsi Township, Shan State.

The SSA has over 10,000 soldiers and is actively operating in the townships of Mong Hsu, Kehsi, Kyaukme, Hsipaw, Tangyan, Namtu, Namhkam, Moemauk, and Pinlong, according to the Institute for Strategy and Policy-Myanmar (ISP-Myanmar). 

The SSPP maintains alliances with three Northern Brothers groups: the Arakan Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army. However, it did not take part with them in Operation 1027, which was primarily conducted in northern Shan State.