Thandaung villagers under fire despite ceasefire

Despite a ceasefire agreement being in place between Karen soldiers and the Burma Army, fighting broke out in Thandaung Township, Karen State on 27th June.

The Karen National Union accuse the Burma Army’s Infantry Battalion 1, under the command of Division 66, for violating the ceasefire agreement and crossing into KNU controlled territory and starting the fighting.

Padoh Saw Eh Wah, KNU chairman of Taungoo district told Karen News.

“They [Burma Army soldiers] entered our territory without informing us as they are required to do so under the ceasefire arrangments. The Burma Army shot at us first and our unit shot back. After a couple of minutes shooting, we withdraw our unit before there were casualties.”

Karen villagers claim that despite the ceasefire agreement between the Karen National Union and Burma Army being in place since January 2012, they still feel they are targets of the Burma Army.

Villagers from Thandaung Township, say at least 14 villagers in the township, have been shot at by the Burma Army while traveling from their homes to work on their plantations.

Villagers say these incidents of the Burma Army’s indiscriminate shooting at them makes it difficult to earn a living.

A villager from Thandaung spoke to Karen News.

“We thought there will be peace during the ceasefire. But now we feel sad because the situation has not improved. We are still afraid and worry for our daily livelihood. On 23rd of June, some plantation workers had to sleep in the jungle because of the shooting.”

In recent weeks, the KNU general secretary Naw Zipporah Sein and KNU officers met with the government peace delegates, led by the Railways Minister, Aung Min in Mae Sot, on the Thailand border to discuss about the peace process including the movement of armies and military affairs.

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