NMSP says, they have not experienced interference from government and military for its COVID-19 activities

May 19, 2020

HURFOM: The New Mon State Party (NMSP), one of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) signatories, has been implementing COVID-19 prevention and control measures with no interference from the government or military, reported Nai Bnyair Lel, Chief of the NMSP Home Affairs.

There was no interruption from the government and military in our controlled area. But first, we had to [conduct] negotiations [for planned activities in] mixed controlled areas. For instance, if we want to open a health check point, we have to negotiate in advance. And, we have to wear our national [clothing while offering] health services. We have to do this, when we [plan to do] something in a mixed controlled area,” said Nai Bnyair Lel.

After negotiating with the local military battalion, the NMSP and the military set up “Health Service Check Points” at the entrance of Japanese Well village near Thai-Burma border,where the NMSP Battalion #3 is located. However, the military withdrew their check points on April 23 and the NMSP also voluntarily withdrew their “Health Service Check Points” on May 13. The withdrawal was not due to the pressure from the military, according to Nai Bnyair Lel.

In reality, the comings and goings weren’t allowed (where we set up the check points). We and the military already decided to close that route. We opened “Health Service Check Points” at Battalion #3 nearby Japanese Well village, and the military opened “Health Service Check Points” just before the TPP – Three Pagoda Pass. It isn’t our permanent base. After negotiating with the military, we opened the checkpoints to [monitor] the comings and goings during COVID-19 period. [Because] the military withdrew their check point, we also did the same,” said Nai Bnyair Lel.

On May 16, in order to promote protection and prevention against COVID-19 in NMSP controlled areas, the Commander of the South East Command, Brigadier General Ko Ko Maung, and his fellows donated protective equipment to the NMSP.

According to the NMSP officials, the donation included 200 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment PPE, 5,000 surgical masks, 200 bottles of hand sanitizing gel, 3,000 surgical gloves, 100 goggles and 2 pesticide tanks.

In order to perform protection and prevention activities against COVID-19, the NMSP has formed Central, District and Township committees, and opened 18 “Health Service Check Points” and 12 quarantine centers.

The situation for the KNU has been different. In a statement released on May 15, 2020, the KNU said there was a misunderstanding with the Burmese military in Mu Taw District, Thaton District where the KNU were delivering protection and prevention activities against COVID-19.  That situation resulted in a violent clash.

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