NMSP: Burmese Army and Karen BGF breach NCA

December 5, 2019

HURFOM: On November 27, 2019, the Burmese army and the Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) attacked the New Mon State Party (NMSP) military base in Japanese Well village, near the Three Pagodas Pass area at the Thai-Burma border. The armed forces  took control of the base and village. In order to resolve the conflict, the NMSP is submitting a report to the Joint Monitoring Committee-Union (JMC-U) and the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC), according to a source from the NMSP.

Regarding the armed conflict, we’ve been planning to report to the JMC-U. Then, we’ll also try to meet with officials from NRPC. We hope they can help us in solving the current problem,” said Nai Win Hla, a member of NMSP Central Executive Committee.

The NMSP met with Mawlamyine-based Southeast Military Command on December 2 and discussed the Japanese Well situation. General Secretary Nai Aung Min, CEC member Nai Win Hlan and Colonel Nai Han Thar of the NMSP met with Colonel Maung Maung Latt of the Southeast Command but no concrete agreement was reached.

We met today to discuss about what is happening in the Japanese Well base. We [tried to find a way to] negotiate and settle the problem. (But) we didn’t get an agreement,” said Nai Win Hla.

According to the NMSP, the Japanese Well military base is an official recognized permanent base according to both 2012 State and Union Level Ceasefire Agreement and the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) that was signed by the NMSP in 2018.

During the meeting with the Southeast Command on December 2, the NMSP requested the Burmese army to withdraw their forces from the Japanese Well base.

According to our experience, it’s a bit difficult (to regain control of the base). I don’t think withdrawal happens easily. In 2017, the Burmese army invaded our bases and haven’t [to this day] withdrawn from those bases. This conflict may be similar to those previous ones. But [in those cases] we had not yet signed the NCA. Now we have signed the NCA and it depends on them (the Burmese army) to respect protocols and agreement and to withdraw the base,” continued Nai Win Hla.

In 2017, the Burmese army invaded two MNSP bases – Zee Hna Pin and Hpa Yar Taung check points located beside Thanbyuzayat-Three Pagodas Pass road and the army maintains control of these bases today.

Nai Win Hal claimed that the Burmese army and the Karen BGF breached Section 8(B), Chapter (3) of NCA, which defines the terms for movement of armed troops in the areas controlled by other ethnic armed groups, is allowed only after obtaining prior agreement.

They reported to us that they wanted to observe the Thai-Burma border. The local officials reported to us and we allowed the request. But they couldn’t wait till the official order  reached the local officials and then they invaded (our controlled area). So an armed clash broke out. Their actions breached the NCA,” said Nai Win Hla.

Since the Burmese army and the Karen BGF control the Japanese Well village, approximately  900 local villagers fled their homes and have taken shelter on the Thai side of the border.

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