Fighting between the Karen National Liberation Army and the government’s Border Guard Force resulted in four BGF being killed two KNLA soldiers wounded. The firefight between the government’s militia and the Karen army broke out on August 5, in Mae Seik village, Papun Township in northern Karen State.
The fighting happened on the same day as the Karen National Union delegates and government representatives met in the Burma border town of Myawaddy, to hammer out details in relation to negotiations about a ‘cease-fire code of conduct’.
Naw Zipporah Sein, secretary of the Karen National Union, told Karen News that the incident might be caused by a ‘weakness of command’.
“This fighting occurred during the ‘peace-talks’ period and it could possibly be that orders haven’t reached to every command area. We are in the period of making sure all the detail is in place and both sides need to continue to discuss these issues.”
Major Kler Doh from the KNLA 5th Brigade office confirmed to Karen News that soldiers under its command and BGF militia from battalion #1014 had armed confrontation.
“It happened at 5am when a platoon from our 5th brigade headquarters clash with soldiers from BGF battalion 1014. According to our reports, four BGF soldiers were killed and we suffered two wounded. We also captured weapons of the BGF.”
Major Kler Doh said that the fighting last for 30 minutes and the KNLA captured four M16 rifles, one Carbine, one pistol, one M22, one camera and one mobile phone from the BGF soldiers. The BGF has two battalions – #1013 and 1014 – based in the KNLA 5th brigade area. Local KNLA sources claimed that the fighting was with BGF battalion #1014 under the command of Major Maung Chit who tries to control additional territory in the region.
The KNLA’s Major Kler Doh told Karen News.
“The BGF are trying to increase their area. We warned them not to do it during the ‘peace-talk’ between the Karen National Union and the government, but they ignored the warning. We had already reported the issue to our Central Committee to inform the government’s Border Affair Minister. But they ignored the warnings and still entered our area so we did as we have been ordered.”
Karen News tried unsuccessfully to contact the government’s Border Affair Minister, Colonel Aung Lwin to discuss the conflict but was told that there was a problem with the telephone line access to the Minister.
Sources from local KNLA units claim that the BGF has been moving its troops into the Mae Seik area on the border of KNLA 5th and 7th brigades, but so far there have not been any movement by the Burma Army.
In what regional military observers say is a ‘tactic to provoke’ – BGF battalion, 1014 under the command of Major Maung Chit and with 30 soldiers set up a base in Mae Lah area in the KNLA’s 5th brigade area on July 30. BGF battalion 1013 commanded by Major Soe Naing, combined with BGF battalion 1012 and led by Major Aung Lin Thein made camp in the Mae Seik area and BGF 30 soldiers from battalion 1013 under the control of Pha Yu Hay built their base in Kan Nyi Naung village.
The KNU and government met and reached to a ceasefire agreement both at State level on January 12, 2012 and Union level on April 6, 2012.