Mon Civil Society Demands Tatmadaw Return Seized Military Camp to NMSP

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Mon civil society groups on Tuesday have called on the Burma Army to return a military camp captured from the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and engage in talks focused on conflict resolution.

The organizations sent an open letter to the Tatmadaw’s commander-in-chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing on December 10, asking that he give back the Mon base at Japan Yaytwin village and begin a process of dialogue to resolve ongoing tensions.

They allege that the government forces violated the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement—to which the NMSP is a signatory—by sending a military column in uniform to the NMSP’s territory at Three Pagodas Pass without permission on November 27. Clashes followed, the NMSP lost the military camp to the Tatmadaw, and some 800 villagers fled across the border to Thailand.

“I think the Tatmadaw has broken the NCA in this case. If a situation like this occurs again in the future, there will be problems in the peace process,” Nai Kathu Mon of the Mon Writers Association told NMG.

The statement to the military asks that troops be kept under control and that the armed forces not be allowed to commit “undisciplined actions” not in line with its own ceasefire agreement. Such actions, the civil society organizations concluded, cause armed confrontations, regional instability and mistrust at the grassroots level.

The NMSP and the Burma Army held a meeting to discuss the issue at the military’s Southeastern Command headquarters in Mawlamyine, Mon State, on December 2. Another discussion was held in Phaya Thonsu town (Three Pagodas Pass) the following day, but yielded no agreement.

Following the meeting, the Burma Army’s military column in Japan Yaytwin withdrew from the NMSP camp. However, commander of the NMSP’s Battalion 5 Lt-Col M Seik Chan, said that the troops were still stationed at the Hintha (Hongsa) Gate, 300 yards away.