Over the course of minutes, troops from the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Karen National Union (KNU) exchanged gunfire on Monday afternoon, October 24, in Yebyu Township, Tenasserism Division. It’s their second clash in months.
The two groups had experienced over 27 years of ceasefire. The last clash between the KNU and NMSP was back in 1988, fuelled by a land dispute over the Three Pagodas Pass area, on the Thai-Burma border.
The NMSP’s Tavoy District liaison office confirmed the above to Mon News Agency. Both sides exchanged fire after the KNU troops entered into the township division’s base in NMSP’s Tavoy District in the territory of the NMSP and opened fire at the base.
“It was around 3:35 PM when they began firing at our office from rubber plantations located in front of, and beside, the office. They fired from those directions over 10 times. In return, we responded with 8 shots back at them. Eventually, they ran away. Due to the rapid exchange, no one was hurt. However, our office wall and roof received bullet holes,” said an official of NMSP’s Tavoy District.
Concerned with the shooting, the NMSP’s Tavoy District contacted and informed KNU’s Myeik-Tavoy District liaison.
“I still cannot follow up this information. That was what the NMSP side confirmed and as I heard from news. However, we have already informed our headquarters about this. Now, we are in the process of checking through the headquarters,” said Saw Win Khine, official in charge at liaison office of Myeik-Tavoy District.
The township force of NMSP’s Tavoy District No. 2 and KNU’s Brigade (4)’s force no 10 are active in Yebyu Township, Tenasserism Division.
On September 8, KNU and NMSP troops opened fire at each other for 40 minutes in Tae Chaung Village. Consequently, the clash damaged several houses in Tae Chaung village including the village administrator’s house, according to locals of Tae Chaung Village. In the days following, officials from both sides met and announced that the shooting was not intentionally planned and proceeded to hold a district-level meeting to found liaison committee to prevent further clashes.
The KNU signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with the government. The NMSP has only signed at the state level and union level and is still yet to sign the NCA with the government.