Troops from the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Karen National Union (KNU) exchanged fire lasting minutes near Ahlaesakhan Village, Yebyu Township, Tenasserism Division, on Tuesday.
The two sides opened fire at noon on December 20, in the Gaung-shar field, near Ahlae Sakhan Village, and it is the third time both sides have fought following clashes in September and October respectively.
“The reason behind the gunfire is uncertain. We cannot explain exactly, since the place where the gunfire was exchanged is far from our place. However, it’s true that gunfire has occurred,” said an official of NMSP based in Yebyu Township, in an interview with Mon News Agency.The NMSP official continued that the area where the gunfire took place was marked by the Tatmadaw for the NMSP to station its Dawei troops after the NMSP signed the state level and union level ceasefire agreement with the then-Thein Sein Government. The area is close to the KNU’s timber logging production grounds.
“I am in Dawei. I haven’t heard about the fighting that occurred in the Gaung-shar field yet,” said Padoh Win Khine, official of KNU Myeik-Dawei Liaison Office.
The NMSP unit and KNU unit opened fire at each other as they encountered the area where logging is prohibited by NMSP, according to a commander of NMSP.
Although Mon News Agency was informed by locals that some men from the NMSP and KNU were wounded from the fighting, it has not been confirmed.
In the Gaung-shar field area, the NMSP’s Dawei District Battalion No. 2 and Battalion 10 of KNU’s Brigade 4, are active.
The KNU is an ethnic armed group that signed Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the government, while the NMSP has not signed the NCA yet.