Karen state in Myanmar

Myanmar Karen State

Myanmar's Karen ceasefire in danger Collisions and massive expulsions in the south-eastern Kayin state of Myanmar have reinforced concerns that the world's longest lasting conflict in which the Karen tribe is involved can be solved through a peaceful settlement by Aung San Suu Kyi. More than 600 Myanmar military troops left their base on March 4 for areas of the civilian population occupied by the Karen National Union (KNU), which has rebelled against the federal administration since 1949 but reached a ceasefire in 2012, according to the Karen Peace Support Network, a global organization of community-based organisations.

Myanmar's military, which was on a maintenance visit to a run-down street in the Hpapun county of northeast Kayin State near the Thai frontier, swapped fires with KNU troops and locals. As a result, more than 1,500 village residents fled to the nearby forests, where they live on declining foodstuffs and few health items, said Saw Way Lay, a spokesman for the CPA.

A spokesman for KNU Brigade 5, which is in charge of the area, Saw Tender, said the VOA that the collisions took place without losses from March 4 to 9. Myanmar's troops buried along the street have made no headway. "Excitement is still high," Way Lay said, asserting that troops in Myanmar have now risen to more than 800.

Myanmar's armed forces briefly collided with KNU Brigade 5 troops elsewhere in the county on March 15, with no obvious losses, Rangoon-based The Irrawaddy said. Repetitive phone conversations from VOA to the formal information team of the armed forces and public sector officers remained unresponded. Zaw Htay, the leading spokesperson for the administration, said he could not speak on issues of war.

In a declaration issued on 16 March, the CNU called for the withdrawal of Myanmar military forces to enable village residents to come back, as well as support the aid and speed up pace of negotiations with community and regional organisations. Members of the CNU have lodged a petition with the Joint Supervisory Committee (JMC), the formal agency responsible for overseeing and enforcing a national ceasefire agreement in 2015 between the authorities and eight military groups, which grew to 10 last month. JMC is the largest organisation in the country in terms of the number of members of the JMC.

VOA Min Zaw Oo, Chief executive of the Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security, said the JMC is now conducting conflict escalation meetings. Of Myanmar's ethnically based groups, the KNU was the most proactive supporter of the Nationwide Cease-Fire Arrangement (NCA) of 2015, sometimes in the face of heavy critique from Karen civic groups who consider it a poor game.

Myanmar's top leaders maintain frequent contacts with the Myanmar authorities and the Myanmar army. Trust in the KNU and Karen societies has, however, been weakened by the continued shift of policy dialog towards a federated transformation of powers to meet long-standing calls for reasonable independence for all Myanmar indigenous minorities. March's collisions marked the biggest flare-up and expulsion of the Hpapun County fellowship since the 2012 ceasefire.

Destroyed from being under the auspices of federal rule since the pre-British period, the area was devastated by a dispute that brought ten thousand Karen fugitives to Thailand, where many of them remained or were relocated to third states. The Saw Tender and Saw Way Lay narrated to VOA that the street was used exclusively for army operations to carry heavier arms and accelerate the rotation of troops.

It seems to violate an unofficial arrangement that Myanmar's military can only supply its base on walking or by their mules. "They can' be used by the village people, only the military of the governments. Crossing the street is even tricky for the villagers," he said, and added that the NCA has allowed Myanmar's military to modernize current warehouses and set up new ones, making the locals constantly anxious and anxious.

The Karen Peace Support Network, in its March 9 declaration, charged the Burmese military with having violated the NCA by illegally accessing KNU areas and called for an impartial investigation into the collisions. Min Zaw Oo, however, quoted a deficiency in the clear delineation of the territories in bi-lateral ceasefires with the KNU and other ethnically based groups.

The UNHCR said, however, that they would assist specific returns if the voluntary nature was affirmed, the place of repatriation was considered secure and the Agency's further right of entry could be ensured for Myanmar authorities to monitor and assist.

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