AFTER the month-long ceasefire declared by the Myanmar junta ended yesterday (April 18) troops of the fast-moving battalion 314 from Aung Mai Two base fired two K120mm mortars into the Shan State Army’s area of control near the border at Chiang Rai province, Sanook.com said this morning (April 19).
The mortars hit Ban Pang Kwai area, which is opposite Thoet Thai subdistrict of Chaing Rai’s Mae Fah Luang district, landing in a farming area and did not cause any injuries nor damaged property.
SSA did not initially retaliate but Col Khun Chorn Chuen, commander of Shan zone one, ordered Maj Lang Chien, commander of infantry battalion 678, to take 50 men to investigate the assault and protect Ban Pang Kwai villagers.
He also ordered all other Shan units to prepare for battle.
Meanwhile on the Thai side of the border the head of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment’s Pha Muang special task force, which is responsible for the security at Chiang Rai’s border area, ordered all units stationed in Mae Fah Luang district to monitor and tighten control of the whole stretch of the border there.
This is to prepare for any stray bullets or mortars shells landing on the Thai side. This task force is also revising plans to shelter any refugees who might flee the looming battle just across the border.
Top: The misty Thai-Myanmar border area in Chiang Rai’s Mae Fah Luang district. Thai headline says, “Myanmar hits Shans.” Photo: Sanook.com