Karen, Mon Forces Discuss Fighting on Thai-Myanmar Border

By Lawi Weng 18 October 2019

Officers from the Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA) and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) met at the Three Pagodas Pass on the Thai border Friday and verbally agreed to stop fighting.

Saw Edwerd, a spokesman for the KNLA, told The Irrawaddy: “We discussed how we could protect the peace and how to avoid further fighting.”

He said both sides agreed to have further leadership meetings.

The recent territory dispute in Karen State on the divide between Mon and Karen territory at Thee Ba Dot Village was not discussed today, the spokesman said.

Major Nai Aye Mann from the MNLA said low-level officers on the ground could not resolve the territorial dispute and future meetings between the groups’ leaders would be needed to end the issue.

The KNLA launched another attack on an MNLA base on Thursday night in Thee Ba Dot near the Three Pagodas Pass, according to both groups.

Maj. Nai Aye Mann told The Irrawaddy that the KNLA attacked at 2 a.m. Friday, after which the MNLA fought back and the KNLA retreated.

“The attack took about half an hour,” said Maj. Nai Aye Mann, who said there were no MNLA casualties.

Saw Edwerd confirmed the fighting but gave no details.

One member of the MNLA was killed when the KNLA attacked its base in Thee Ba Dot at dawn on Oct. 17.

More than 50 ethnic Mon fled the fighting Thursday, taking refuge at a Buddhist monastery at the Three Pagodas Pass, according to residents.

Some villagers claimed the KNLA destroyed their homes, including rice bags.

Ethnic Mon and Karen live together around the Three Pagodas Pass despite an ongoing territorial dispute.

The MNLA destroyed a Karen flag last week after the KNLA put it up on the edge of Karen territory at Thee Ba Dot. In retaliation, the KNLA attacked an MNLA base, according to Saw Edwerd.