TC No. 3 issues movement restrictions in NMSP territory

January 13, 2010

HURFOM, TPP: According to HURFOM’s field reporter, Tactical Command (TC) No. 3 Colonel Kyaw Min Htay has issued orders to the Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) still under his control, LIB Nos. 283 and 284, and to village headmen in the Tree Pagodas’ Pass area. The orders reportedly mandated that village headman begin enforcing movement restrictions in the regions of New Mon State Party (NMPS) territory controlled by the battalions.

HURFOM’s reporter learned that LIB Nos. 283 and 284 have been ordered to collect an exact census of the residents living in the areas under their control; the battalions have also been commanded to force village headmen in the areas they control to instate the mandatory use of travel documents whenever residents choose to travel outside of their villages.

HURFOM learned that TC No. 3 also ordered that residents living under their control be prevented from joining in NMSP political activities. According to reports, in December of 2009 movement restrictions were mandated in the TC-controlled villages of Japanese Well and Mon Battalion No.3 village in Three Pagodas’ Pass Township. However, sources indicate that village headmen in the area have not yet implemented the restrictions ordered by the battalion.

According to a Japanese well villager, the village’s headman has already received the orders from the TC No. 3. “Our village headman received movement the restriction order document from Tactical No. 3’s Colonel Kyaw Min Htay and LIB No. 283’s Lieutenant colonel Myat Htun Lay.”

Many sources have interpreted the Burmese government’s interference in NMSP territory as retaliation for the group’s refusal to become a Border Guard Force in 2009. A political observer based in the Three Pagodas’ Pass border region said, “Now the military authorities have focused on the NMSP’s activities because the military is not happy that the NMSP has refused to be a Border Guard Force [BGF] or be involved in the upcoming election.”

Because the movement restrictions have not yet been enacted, some villagers interviewed by HURFOM doubt the possibility of Burmese government orders being enforced in NMSP territory. The ceasefire signed by the Burmese government and the NMSP in 1995 has guaranteed the group some degree of political autonomy for over a decade.

Nai Nee, a40 year-old Three Pagodas’ Pass resident said, “It’s impossible that the Burmese battalion gave orders in NMSP Territory at Japanese well and Battalion No.3 village. But, sometimes when we enter into Three Pagoda Pass Town, they ask for IDs and travel documents, so we need to be careful.”

Mhem Seik Chan, a Battalion No.3 villager and a former NMLA soldier, disagreed. He claimed that that the recent removal of the NMSP’s taxation rights by the Burmese government in September, following the group’s refusal to become a BGF, has weakened the party’s control over NMSP territory. He explained, “Now the political situation becomes worse; therefore, we have to be careful about everything. Now the NMSP does not have as much power as before. So, we can’t say that it’s impossible. No one can help you, if you’re in trouble.”

According HURFOM’s field reporter, the villages of Amone and Cheldike, both located in NMSP territory, have also been ordered to implement movement restrictions by the Burmese military.


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