Tatmadaw, Karenni Army Clash
Such fighting reduces trust and damages peace efforts, a KNPP representative says.
By NETWORK MEDIA GROUP (NMG)
Sunday, October 21, 2018
Fighting broke out between Karenni Army, the armed wing of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and government troops on Saturday morning in Karenni State’s Hpasaung Township, the KNPP said.
KNPP’s Battalion No. 1 controls the area in question where the battle happened, Saw Oo Kwe, who is in charge of the KNPP’s Hpasaung liaison office, told NMG.
“Clashes occurred between Nankit and Tar Hang Lawt villages at around 7:55 a.m. They lasted about three minutes. It’s just an incident of engagement. It did not take long,” he explained.
The KNPP also said that the Karenni Army clashed with the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Battalion 428 in the Mawchi area, and that the number of casualties remain unknown.
A Karenni army officer who is working in KNPP’s No. 2 district said that government forces have had movement in their area in recent days but have not been reporting their posts, which contributed to the recent outbreaks of conflict.
“We have a restricted area. Nobody can cross the line. If they want to cross the line, they must at least report to us. We have repeatedly told them this. They have never reported when they enter our area,” the army officer explained. “When we ask our liaison office about it, we find out that they didn’t report it to our liaison office. After they crossed the line, they faced our soldiers. Then our soldiers shot at them.”
Saw Oo Kwe said that the liaison office was able to negotiate such matters in the past and avoid fighting, and that he hopes this will be possible in the future. He added that clashes like the one that occurred on Saturday reduce trust and damage peace efforts.
“In my opinion, it can damage the peace process, because if we don’t have mutual trust and monitor movement, we will have many considerations in signing the NCA,” he said, referring to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the government and military.
The KNPP has thus far opted not to sign the NCA, but signed a state-level ceasefire in March 2012, and a Union level ceasefire in June 2012.