Burma Army, Mon Forces Clash Near Thai Border

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Combined forces from the Burma Army and its Border Guard Force (BGF) twice fought the Mon National Liberation Army—the armed wing of the New Mon State Party (NMSP)—near the Three Pagodas Pass on the Thai-Burma border on Wednesday morning.

NMSP officials confirmed to NMG that their forces had two clashes with government troops near their base in Japan Yaytwin village in Phaya Thonsu Township.

“The Burma Army and the Karen BGF reported to us that they wanted to observe the border area this morning. We replied and told them they could go there for observation,” NMSP central committee member Nai Lawi Mon told NMG. “We told them that if they wanted to pass by Japan Yaytwin village, to not come in military uniform—we allowed them to pass through the village in civilian clothing. But they came in full military uniform and with equipment. Our soldiers shot at them, and clashes broke out between us.”

He added that the fighting did not last long, with the first clash occurring at 9:00 a.m. and another breaking out an hour later.

According to Nai Lawi Mon, two officials from the Burma Army were injured, but no Mon soldiers were wounded. NMG was unable to independently confirm whether there were any injuries or casualties.

Although the fighting has paused, the Burma Army has reportedly sent reinforcement troops to the area, with Mon forces monitoring the situation on the ground closely.

Mon political analyst Min Min Nwe said that the move by the Burma Army into Mon territory—in uniform—violated the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), to which the NMSP is a signatory.

“This should not have happened… It’s clearly stated in the NCA. Both sides had already agreed on the existence of the NMSP’s base location,” he told NMG. “It’s not good for the peace process or for the local people. Now local people are really scared.”

Hundreds of villagers fled across the border to Thailand during the fighting.

The NMSP has signed multiple ceasefires with the Burmese government and military. The first was in 1995, but the agreement broke down in 20110. They again signed a bilateral ceasefire in 2012, and the NCA in 2018.