Amid Military Tensions, KNU Official Resigns From Ceasefire Monitoring Committee

By The Irrawaddy 4 July 2016

Tensions arose between soldiers from the Burma Army and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) over a military checkpoint dispute, leading to the resignation of an ethnic Karen official who serves on a ceasefire monitoring body.

Col Saw Mu Ker, an official with the Karen National Union (KNU) and the vice-chairman of the state-level Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC)—a group which monitors the implementation of Burma’s 2015 nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA)—has resigned his post after the committee failed to address a dispute over a KNLA-controlled tax collection checkpoint in the Htee Khee area of southern Burma’s Tenasserim Division.

The KNU is the political wing of the KNLA and one of eight non-state ethnic armed organizations that signed last year’s NCA with the former government.

The argument was reported after a tactical commander from the army’s military operations command ordered KNLA soldiers to shut down the checkpoint within three days in late June—an order which the KNLA ignored up to this point.

In his resignation letter last week, Col Saw Mu Ker said he would leave his post because the JMC had not taken action to resolve the disagreement which had upset his fellow soldiers.  The colonel belongs to KNLA Brigade 4, which is based in Tenasserim Division.

He said that it was more appropriate to look after his soldiers that to serve on the JMC, as there was no reason to cooperate with the committee if they could not handle disputes as they arose.