Pa-O Council Blames Myanmar Junta Allies for Attack on Diplomatic Convoy

By The Irrawaddy 13 May 2023

The Pa-O National Federal Council (PNFC) says the May 7 attack on an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) aid convoy was carried out by the junta-affiliated Pa-O National Organization (PNO).

The humanitarian aid convoy included two Singaporean and Indonesian embassy staff, three officials from the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management and Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) liaison officers when an unidentified armed group attacked.

The convoy retreated to Taunggyi, the Shan State capital. No one was injured.

The attack took place in PNO territory and it was alleged on social media that the PNLO was behind the ambush. The PNLO denied the allegations saying it arranged the trip, its staff were in the convoy and the aid was due to be delivered to its office.

The PNFC said witness statements, including from Pa-O residents who saw the attack, suggested the PNO carried out the attack.

The council, which represents the Pa-O community, called for a probe by ASEAN and the international community.

It warned that the junta was trying to spark conflicts within the Karenni and Pa-O communities.

The civilian National Unity Government (NUG) on Monday denounced the attack on a humanitarian convoy and said it will investigate the incident.

On Wednesday a statement by the ASEAN heads of state condemned the attack and said that the perpetrators must be held accountable.

The PNFC said on Thursday that the terrorist regime is unwilling to provide humanitarian assistance to people in need and will not help those in need.

“Unless we stop the junta’s violence, we will be unable to effectively deliver humanitarian assistance,” it said.

The NUG, Karen National Union, Karenni National Progressive Party and Chin National Front issued a joint statement on Wednesday urging ASEAN to help establish an inclusive humanitarian forum to deliver aid through a variety of channels while the junta blocks assistance.