Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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New Mon State Party issues troops shoot-on-sight orders

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The New Mon State Party has ordered its soldiers to shoot at junta troops if they intrude into areas under its control, Mon military adviser Colonel Kaung Yuk (retired) said.

The shoot-on-sight order was issued after a three-day NMSP central committee meeting, he said.

“We have issued orders to our troops to shoot at anyone intruding without prior notice into our five-mile (8-kilometre) radius base areas,” Kaung Yuk said.

“We told them [our troops] they didn’t have to seek orders from higher authorities and that they could shoot at anyone in pre-emptive strikes. The shoot-on-sight order is in effect for anyone intruding into our areas with a hostile objective without informing us,” he added.

During ceasefire negotiations with the junta, 14 base areas including Minywa near Kawbein village, on the banks of the Jai River in Mon State; Inngwa village, in Kyainnseikgyi Township,  Karen State; and Pinchaungphya village, in Tavoy District near the Thai-Burmese border, were designated NMSP-controlled areas.

The junta has exerted increasing pressure of various kinds on the NMSP’s 7,000-strong armed wing, the Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA), to bring its troops under junta command within the Burmese Army’s Border Guard Forces (BGF). It has also brought its powers of persuasion to bear on local people’s militia outside the terms of the ceasefire agreement reached with the junta in 1995. However, the NMSP has defied the junta’s pressure and ultimatums.

Early this month, former Southeast Command chief Major General Thet Naing Win threatened the NMSP that its troops would be regarded as insurgents if they failed to surrender their arms.

The NMSP has continued to reject all junta pressure and responded that they would like to resolve political issues only through political means and would continue negotiations with the government elected on November 7. They have also rejected participation in those polls.

The junta answered by imposing tight restrictions on NMSP movement by asking them to report itineraries in advance, a move that had also spurred the shoot-on-sight order, on suspicion of the junta’s military objectives, the retired Mon colonel said.
Only district committee members and office assistants remained at the NMSP’s Moulmein liaison offices and the rest had been withdrawn, he said. 

Junta troops near the Mon-controlled areas comprised 10 battalions under the Yay-based Military Operations Command No. 19 and five battalions under the control of Thaton-based artillery division No. 606. However, no significant junta troop movements have been seen, a source said.

The junta has been exerting increasing pressure on ceasefire groups to bring their troops under the BGF since April 2008. However, only the NDAK or Kachin State Special Region No. 1, Karenni Nationalities Liberation Force or Kayah State Special Region No. 1 and the Kokang or Shan State (North) Special Region No. 1, have accepted the proposal.

The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), which broke away from the Karen National Union also recently accepted the BGF but the United Wa State Army (UWSA), the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) had been as strong in their rejection of the BGF as the NMSP.

The junta (the State Peace and Development Council or SPDC) had imposed travel restrictions on the KIO, ordering its members to seek permission from Military Affairs Security (military intelligence) and the Northern Region Command before travelling. The KIO also answered with a policy to shoot at SPDC forces if they intruded into areas under its control without prior notice.

The NMSP and the Mon National Liberation Army were created in 1958 from the Mon separatist group, the Mon People’s Front, and have continued to fight for self-determination and the rights of all ethnic minorities. They have controlled the eastern hills of Mon State and portions of Tenasserim Division since 1949. 


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