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Tatmadaw troops enter NMSP territory as peace negotiation convenes

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Tatmadaw troops have reportedly entered a village under the control of the New Mon State Party, escalating pressure on the ethnic armed group as it meets with government peace negotiators in Yangon this week [August 10].

The Peace Commission and the Delegation for Peace Negotiation (DPN) under the ethnic bloc the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), are currently engaged in talks about the nationwide ceasefire agreement. The NMSP, a non-signatory group, currently chairs the UNFC.

According to Kyar-inn Seikkyi township, Kayin (Karen) State residents, military columns from the Tatmadaw entered a village near the NMSP’s Mawlamyine District office between August 9 and 10.

“The first military column arrived at a monastery near the district office yesterday evening. When they [the Tatmadaw troops] met with the district secretary, they said they were touring the area. Another military column arrived in Win Yaw Seik Gyi,” said an official from the NMSP.

A Tatmadaw military column arrives at a monastery near the NMSP’s Mawlamyine District office (photo: MNA)

Under an agreement with former president U Thein Sein’s administration, Khwa Village in Mawlamyine District is one of the 18 permanent bases of the NMSP. Currently, the area is used as a base of operations for the NMSP’s Mawlamyine District office and the Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA) Battalion No 1.

Local residents said a 30-member Tatmadaw mobile medical team arrived on August 9 ahead of the military columns.

“I don’t know which battalions they are from. They said they are here to see the area where the [Mon] Revolution Day ceremony was held. They said they have come under their superior’s order,” a village administrator said on condition of anonymity.

The NMSP held Mon Revolution Day military parades in five areas under its control on August 7 despite pressure from the Tatmadaw to confine the commemorative events to the party’s headquarters.

The NMSP has signed a bilateral ceasefire, but not the NCA.

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