Rangoon-based Karen National Thahaya (Friendship) Association issued a statement on March 28 to urge the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Tatmadaw to keep their troops in line with the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) after armed clashes broke out in the KNU-controlled area in Hpapun District, Karen State on March 5.
“We don’t want any skirmishes in this area. By engaging in these skirmishes, they (the armies) cause trouble to the public and we are worried that they will harm the peace process which is being carried out by the State (government) in one way or another so we don’t want these skirmishes to break out,” the association’s chair Saw Leh Wah told Karen News on March 28.
According to sources close to the KNU, officials from both the Tatmadaw and the KNU will meet at the KNU liaison office in Nyaunglebin District under Kyaukkyi Township, Bago Region on March 30 to discuss the recent clashes, which broke out after the Tatmadaw entered the area controlled by the KNU Brigade 5 to build a road. The proposed meeting was later cancelled.
The association urged the officials of both armies to meet and find the solution in order to obtain the right answer and prevent similar incidents from taking place again.
In the five-point statement, the association urged both armies to hold a political dialogue immediately since the skirmishes can lead to fighting.
The skirmishes have harmed the peace process and given trouble to the local residents who had to flee from the skirmishes so both armies are urged to keep their troops in order in line with the NCA as a way of showing respect to the peace implementation and showing compassion towards the local residents, the association stated.
The Karen National Friendship Association was officially established on November 28, 2016 to develop the social life of the Karen people. The association has been carrying out its tasks since three months ago and its office was opened in Insein Township in Rangoon on February 24, according to officials from the association.