A member of the Karen State government has objected to a Karen National Union official totting guns in an area of “dual administration”.
The KNU signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) in 2015, which as they were recently reminded, restricts them from carrying guns in areas not under their control.
The Kayin State Minister of Security and Border Affairs sent a letter of rebuke to the KNU Central Liaison Office on May 10. He said the KNU Hlaingbwe township’s secretary P’doh Saw Eh Htee Kaw was recently carrying a fire arm to a cultural exchange event on Kawlon Island in Hlaingbwe township between May 3-4.
“We will need to negotiate this at the ground level. He sent the letter because he has the responsibility to send it,” said Major Saw Shee Sho.
According to chapter 3 of the Military Code of Conduct, the Tatmadaw and ethnic armed groups agreed that members of their parties can travel freely if they are unarmed and in civilian clothes. They may carry arms only in areas under their control.
A member of the state-level Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee, Nan Say Awar, said the misunderstanding arose in this incident because the territories have not yet been clearly demarcated, and not all troops are familiar with the code of conduct.
Saw Lay Nge, an elder from the village where the recent event was held, said he saw no issue with the KNU’s attendance.
“The KNU came because we invited them. We don’t need to be afraid or feel bothered if they bring their weapons with them. This territory is often visited by both the KNU and the government,” he said.
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited by Laignee Barron