KNU Concerned Group Says Tatmadaw’s Unilateral Ceasefire Isn’t Honest

By Network Media Group
Thursday, May 14, 2020

A Karen political group said the Tatmadaw’s decision to exclude Rakhine and Chin states in a recent unilateral ceasefire was a strategic decision to focus its attention on fighting the Arakan Army (AA).

“Fighting is happening almost every day in Rakhine State, and there are many civilian casualties,” said Naw Zipporah Sein, the leader of the KNU Concerned Group. The former Karen National Union (KNU) chairperson told NMG that “political problems can be solved through political means.”

In Rakhine and Chin States “the Burma Army has committed human rights abuses and they need to stop the war. If the situation continues like this there won’t be peace in Burma.”

After UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for ceasefires across the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tatmadaw announced a unilateral ceasefire from May 10 to August 31 for the entire country except in Rakhine and Chin States.

In a statement, the KNU Concerned Group said this shows “the Burma Army doesn’t want to stop the civil war” in areas where thousands of civilians have been uprooted from their homes in recent months.

To prepare for the pandemic, the KNU Concerned Group said the Army needs to implement a real nationwide ceasefire, yet when ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) attempt to protect the health of their communities the Tatmadaw prevents them.

Recently, there was a skirmish between the KNU Brigade 5 and the Burma Army in Mudraw district, located in Karen State, after the Army torched a hut used to check temperatures and destroyed another one. The KNU Concerned Group said the latest incident proves the Tatmadaw isn’t interested in working together for COVID-19 prevention and just wants to control the EAOs.