So far so good – villagers agree ceasefire has brought freedom of movement

According to a Karen National Union source, villagers in Kyauk Kyi Township in the Bago Region have more freedom to travel since the preliminary ceasefire agreement between Karen National Union and government.

Padoh Saw Ner Htoo Byaing, KNU chairman in Kyauk Kyi Township told Karen News.

“Villagers now don’t need to get travel permission documents to move around the area. They are free to travel without question.”

The KNU said that before the ceasefire agreement villagers had to pay to get travel permission documents from government authorities and that their belongings were often confiscated at security checkpoints.

“Villagers’ torch lights and dry batteries were taken off them. Authorities confiscated the batteries as they believed they could be used to explode devices. Now villagers have no difficulties to carry torches as they travel.”

A villager, who did not want to use his name for security concerns, told Karen News the ceasefire had created some positive changes in their area.

“Since the ceasefire agreement things around here have been fine. But we are being really careful as we understand the situation – the peace process is really important to us. Now it is okay, but if the peace process is broken we will face many problems – we still worry about that.”

It is estimated by villagers that Karen makes up 75% of the population in Kyauk Kyi Township.

Padoh Saw Ner Htoo Byaing told Karen News that since the second round of ceasefire discussions, the KNU have already opened a liaison office in the Union Solidarity and Development Party building in Kyauk Kyi Township and that the government provided a pickup truck for the use of the liaison officers.

The KNU have appointed Karen National Liberation Army two officers to staff the KNU liaison office. They are Captain Isaac from Battalion 9 and Lieutenant Htoh Hsar from Battalion 8.

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