Myanmar Army Questions NMSP After it Defies Military Parade Ban

By Hintharnee 14 August 2017

MAWLAMYINE, Mon State — The South Eastern Command of the Myanmar Army questioned the New Mon State Party (NMSP) on Saturday about a military parade and gun salute it held during the celebration of Mon Revolution Day.

“There was a 21-gun salute in honor of our fallen martyrs and soldiers. They had asked if we could avoid doing so because they held Martyrs’ Day without a gun salute,” Nai Win Hla, who is in charge of the NMSP’s internal affairs, told the press.

Three members of the NMSP met the commander of South Eastern Command Maj-Gen Myo Win, Col Tin Htut and Lt-Col Ye Htut on Saturday, said Nai Win Hla, who was also present at the meeting.

The South Eastern Command on August 5 told the NMSP not to hold military parades in uniform at locations other than the party’s headquarters to mark the 70th Anniversary of Mon Revolution Day, which fell on August 7.

However, the NMSP held parades in uniform and a gun salute at locations other than the party’s headquarters, as it had in the past on Mon Revolution Day.

Following this, Light Infantry Battalion No. 284 based in Kyainseikgyi Township dispatched around 100 troops into the villages surrounding Kwe Kaw village where the NMSP’s Mawlamyine base is headquartered, according to local villagers.

“When asked by villagers, the soldiers said they were there to provide medical services. But locals think they are here because of the military parades on Mon Revolution Day and they are concerned that clashes might occur. They are staying at the monastery, and rarely go outside,” said a villager of Taung Pauk village, who asked not to be named.

The Myanmar Army also barred the NMSP from organizing military parades on Mon National Day in February. The NMSP also defied that order and later was forced to give up two gates under its control to the military.

Nai Win Hla said the NMSP would send a delegation to meet government authorities in Mawlamyine District soon.

The NMSP signed a ceasefire with the then ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in 1995, but the truce broke in 2010. It then signed state- and Union-level ceasefire agreements with former President U Thein Sein’s government in February 2012, but has opted out of signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

It has told the media that it agreed to the NCA path, however, it has not clarified a date to sign the agreement.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.