After what had been recognised as successful talks in July that brought the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) closer to fruition only three points remained to be addressed before a binding agreement could be signed. Perhaps crucially the most important for all concerned parties were which groups are to be included in the signing of the NCA. This has become a particularly difficult point to address as the Government and the armed ethnic group leaders have differing views as to the validity of those groups that can be a part of the process at the initial ceasefire stage.
There are six groups that are a major concern during these talks, each groups has a different background, a different goal, and different claims as to why they deserve to participate in what is ostensibly an agreement not to militarily engage the government’s armed forces. [Download]
On 2 July 2015, fighting broke out in Kayin State along a newly constructed area of the Asia Highway that links Pang Kan village with Myanmar’s Kawkareik Township.
The fighting between the Myanmar Army and the Kloh Htoo Wah Tactical Unit of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), also known as the Klo Htoo Baw Kayin Organisation (KKO), not only highlights the continued taxation of the local population by the myriad small KNU splinter factions in Kayin State, but also the problems affecting the Karen National Union should a ceasefire occur.
Initial fighting, between Myanmar Army Infantry Battalion 231 under Military Operation Command 12 and soldiers from the DKBA Klo Htoo Wah Tactical Unit under the command of Brigadier General Kyaw Thet, resulted in at least two Myanmar soldiers killed and one injured while three members of the Klo Htoo Wah Tactical Unit were also reported wounded. [Download]
My latest paper on the Kachin based Arakan Army in available here.
On 29 March 2015, fighting broke out between the Arakan Army’s (AA) Tactical Unit No. 5 and Myanmar Army Infantry Battalion No. 289 in one of the first major attacks for the AA outside of Kachin State where they are largely based. The attack, on the ethnic Chin village of Pyin So, Paletwa Township, Chin State, forced hundreds of villagers to flee. According to one villager, speaking to the Chin Human Rights Organisation, the fighting had occurred because Government soldiers stationed in the village had captured an Arakan Army soldier, three days before the clash.
Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Nyo Tun Aung, AA deputy commander-in-chief, said in a Narinjara interview that two bodies – a captain and a private, both from the Burma Army – were recovered, and that they arrested two Myanmar Army soldiers. In addition, the AA seized a 45mm pistol, two MA-1 machine guns, one MA-3 machine gun, several bullets, and military equipment. He also noted that because the government has been increasing the number of Burma Army soldiers in the area there is likely to be further fighting.
My new Background Paper for the Euro Burma Office is now available via their website here.
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang (NSCN-K)
On 4 June 2015, a coalition of separatist rebels ambushed a convoy of Indian troops, from the sixth Dogra Regiment, in the country’s northeastern state of Manipur killing at least 18 soldiers and seriously injuring twelve others.
The soldiers were on patrol when they came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles, and machine guns. The attack marks a further escalation of the conflict against the Indian army in the country’s northeast. Indian intelligence stated it suspected the involvement of the Myanmar based National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang (NSCN-K) and the United National Liberation Front, a Manipuri rebel group, in the joint attack. Shortly after, a press release from the NSCN-K stated that an elite unit of its guerrillas and those from its Manipuri allies, KYKL and KCP, had carried out the attack to uphold the cause of their sovereignty.