KNLA soldiers from 4th Brigade on parade during a Martyrs' Day (Photo-Karen News)

Ceasefire Under Threat as Burma Army’s Attack on Karen Army Kills One and Wounds One

The Burma Army in Tanintharyi Township attacked the base of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) in the Huaypha area killing one KNLA soldier and wounding another.

Sources close to the Karen National Union (KNU) in the Megui/Tavoy District confirmed to Karen News and added details of the attack. The KNU sources said that Burma Army soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 557 twice attacked the KNLA Battalion #11 camp in its 4th Brigade in Huaypha. The first attacked happened at 3pm on June 13th and the second attack at 7am on June 14.

Padoh Saw Beeler, chairperson of the KNU Megui/Tavoy District told Karen News.

“The fighting occurred twice. The first fighting killed one of our soldiers and wounded another, we also lost an M16 rifle. There were no casualties from the second fight, but we lost one 79 mortar launcher.”

Padoh Beeler said that these attacks should not occur under signed the ceasefire agreement and the ongoing peace negotiations between the KNU and the government.

Padoh Beeler said that the government blames the KNU for starting the fight, but the fighting took place in an area under the control of the KNU, which should have been a ‘no-go area’ to the Burma Army. Padoh Beeler told Karen News that Burma Army should not have been operating in the KNU territory.

Sources from the KNLA’s 4th Brigade told Karen News that the fighting occurred when a Burma Army patrol started shooting at a KNLA soldier who was on his way back from working at a cornfield. The Burma Army soldiers killed the KNLA soldier, stole his M16 rifle and attacked the nearby KNLA camp. The clash was reported to the relevant government authorities by the KNU.

A KNU delegation led by its chairperson General Mutu Sae Po and KNLA Chief-of Staff General Saw Johnny met with Burma army commander-in-chief General Min Aung Hlaing in early June at Naypyidaw to discuss the relocation of Burma Army camps from KNU territory.

General Saw Johnny, the KNLA chief-of-staff spoke to Karen News,

“We have talked about the relocation of [Burma army] camps based in villages, temples and churches in our area, at Naypyidaw. Regarding the incident in 4th Brigade, we will look into the case and make an inquiry in order to handle and resolve the issue. I think this incident will not derail the whole negotiation process.”

This is the first fighting in KNLA 4th Brigade between Burma army and the KNLA since the ceasefire agreement was signed in January 2012.

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