Myanmar military violated ceasefire agreement, say Mon rebels

The New Mon State Party (NMSP) has filed a complaint to official ceasefire monitors accusing the Myanmar military of violating the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), according to party’s committee secretary Dr Shwe Kah.  

The NMSP claims the military trespassed in areas under their control and seized an outpost of theirs near the Thai border, but the military denies both claims. 

The two clashed near Three Pagodas Pass on November 27, in Palaijapan village, Karen state, sending about 1,000 villagers fleeing across the border.

Military troops were withdrawn from the village on December 4 but some remain at the Hinthar Pole outpost, just 300 yards away, residents told Myanmar Now. Villagers have also begun returning, they said. 

Shwe Kah said he has not read the complaint but that the JMC-U will notify the government and the military of it, and that the JMC-U then help the two parties resolve the issue.

Brigadier-General Zaw Min Tun of the military’s True News Information Unit told Myanmar Now the military did not “seize” the Palaijapan outpost but only stationed there during fighting.

The issue must be solved through the State-Level Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee (JMC-S), not the JMC-U, he said.

The NMSP’s sign-on to the NCA in February 2018 means they’ve joined the JMC-U but have not yet joined the JMC-S.

“There is no irresolvable conflict between us and the NMSP”, he added. 

According to Nai Win Hla, head of the NMSP Home Affairs Department, the ‘clash erupted when the military entered an NMSP-controlled area without prior authorization. 

“To be exact, the military defied Chapter 3, paragraph 8, sub-paragraph (b) of the NCA: ‘the movement of armed troops in areas controlled by other groups is allowed only after obtaining prior consent,’” 

Nai Win Hla told reporters during a December 2 interview in Mawlamyine that was recorded and shared with Myanmar Now.

He said Palaijapan village was designated a permanent NMSP outpost by a union-level territorial agreement with former President Thein Sein’s government in 2012 and by the 2018 NCA.

“There was a similar case in 2017. The Myanmar army occupied our military bases and never transferred them back. We had not signed the NCA at the time, but we are now NCA-signatories and expect they will return our bases as per that agreement”, he said.

General Maung Maung Latt of the Southeast Regional Command on 27 November said that troops had entered the area only after notifying the NMSP, yet NMSP troops began firing on them anyway, so the military had to occupy the posts.

Residents nearby said there had been no clashes in three days but at midnight on December 1 they heard a burst of gunfire near Palaijapan village. 

Nai Win Hla said the NMSP was not involved.

On December 2, officials from the NMSP and the Southeast Regional Command met for negotiations in Mawlamyine but could not reach an agreement, according to the NMSP.


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