Fighting between KNU and NMSP displaces over 200 local people

October 22, 2019

HURFOM: Another clash broke out between the Karen National Union (KNU) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) in Phalae Don Pheik village, Three Pagodas Pass, Karen Township, on  October 21, 2019. A previous attack took place on October 17th.

According to local sources, 214 people are currently taking shelter at the 100-pole monastery in Three Pagodas Pass and more refugees who are fleeing the fighting are expected to join this group.

Most of the refugees are children and blankets are urgently needed because of the cold morning weather and their health conditions. According to one local resident of Three Pagodas Pass  some of the refugees are coughing.

…local people of Three Pagodas Pass are donating mosquito nets, food and other materials for the refugees, they are okay. However, we need to wait until the situation is stable (before anyone can return to their homes). Currently the weather is cold in the morning. If there are enough blankets, it will better,” continued the local resident.

The conflict began due to a territorial dispute. A chief commander of the NMSP was killed during a clash early on the morning of  October 17. A second fight broke out on October 21st and there may be other casualties, but that has not yet been confirmed.  

Following the first clash, the NMSP and KNU met to negotiate a ceasefire on 20 October 2019 in Three Pagodas Pass.  The negotiations agenda included i) resolving the territorial dispute, ii) arranging for the internally displaced persons (IDP’s) also known as refugees to be safely returned to their homes, and iii) to agree upon the removal of landmines in the area. 

However, armed conflict broke out after just one day despite a ceasefire agreement to be in effect during the negotiations.

This happened between Mon and Karen. We only need negotiation between each other. We contacted KNU not to repeat the fight and to maintain the situation (peace) again. However, I’m not sure how long we can uphold our agreement (to maintain peace),” said Nai Win Hla, a Central Executive Committee member of the NMSP.

According to local sources, 214 people are currently taking shelter at the 100-pole monastery in Three Pagodas Pass and more refugees who are fleeing the fighting are expected to join this group.

Most of the refugees are children and blankets are urgently needed because of the cold morning weather and their health conditions. According to one local resident of Three Pagodas Pass  some of the refugees are coughing.

…local people of Three Pagodas Pass are donating mosquito nets, food and other materials for the refugees, they are okay. However, we need to wait until the situation is stable

[before anyone can return to their homes]

. Currently the weather is cold in the morning. If there are enough blankets, it will better,” continued the local resident.

The conflict began due to a territorial dispute. A chief commander of the NMSP was killed during a clash early on the morning of  October 17. A second fight broke out on October 21st and there may be other casualties, but that has not yet been confirmed.  

Following the first clash, the NMSP and KNU met to negotiate a ceasefire on 20 October 2019 in Three Pagodas Pass.  The negotiations agenda included i) resolving the territorial dispute, ii) arranging for the internally displaced persons (IDP’s) also known as refugees to be safely returned to their homes, and iii) to agree upon the removal of landmines in the area. 

However, armed conflict broke out after just one day despite a ceasefire agreement to be in effect during the negotiations.

This happened between Mon and Karen. We only need negotiation between each other. We contacted KNU not to repeat the fight and to maintain the situation (peace) again. However, I’m not sure how long we can uphold our agreement (to maintain peace),” said Nai Win Hla, a Central Executive Committee member of the NMSP.

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