No Agreement Yet in NMSP, Tatmadaw Talks

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Officials from the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Burma Army met on Monday to discuss clashes that occurred between their forces on the Thai-Burma border and the military’s subsequent seizure of an NMSP base.

The NMSP wants the Tatmadaw to withdraw from the base, which is located in Japan Yaytwin village, near Three Pagodas Pass.

“A ceasefire agreement in 2012 approved the Japan Yaytwin military base camp as our base. The NCA in 2018 reaffirmed the camp as our base,” NMSP’s internal affairs representative Nai Win Hla told NMG, referring to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, to which the NMSP is a signatory. “We discussed whether the Tatmadaw would withdraw their forces from our camp,” he explained, adding that no agreement had yet been reached on the issue.

Those in attendance at this week’s meeting included NMSP general secretary Nai Aung Min and Col Maung Maung Latt of the Burma Army’s southeastern military command.

The Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA)—the armed wing of the NMSP—and combined forces from the Burma Army and a military-backed Border Guard Force (BGF) clashed at the MNLA’s base camp in Japan Yaytwin village on the morning of November 27. The Burma Army captured the camp after the fighting and continues to occupy the village with the BGF soldiers.

Some 800 people from Japan Yaytwin and two other nearby communities have sought refuge in Thailand as a result of the fighting and continued occupation.

NMSP officials previously told NMG that the fighting occurred after government forces asked for permission to carry out observations around the border area that day. Mon officials obliged, but asked them not to enter Japan Yaytwin in full military uniform. They did, and clashes broke out.

A Burma Army officer was reportedly injured in the fighting, and a soldier was killed. According to locals, a civilian was also injured in the clashes.

Locals said that they heard sounds of gun shooting in the Three Pagodas Pass area on the night of December 1.

NMSP representatives said that they did not clash with government forces that day.

“I don’t know which armed groups were fighting. Local people are really worried about it. Many local people fled to Thailand because of recent clashes in this area. They have yet to return from Thailand,” a Three Pagodas Pass local told NMG.

The Royal Thai Army and other Thai authorities have provided food and basic health necessities to the hundreds of new Mon refugees now in Thailand.