Wed 29 Jun 2011
Filed under: Inside Burma
Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese authorities in some townships in Mon State have ordered members of cease-fire groups to turn in their weapons at nearby police stations.Officials in Thanbyuzayat Township announced on Monday via loudspeakers that members of cease-fire groups turn in their weapons to police stations no later than Thursday.
The order appears to be directed at the New Mon State Party and other cease-fire groups.
Under orders by the government’s Southeast Command, authorities in Thanbyuzayat Township have posted notices about the order in public locations. The Kyaikmayaw Township Administrative Office issued the notice 10 days ago.
‘The notice says people must hand in their weapons to police stations no later than the end of this month. Otherwise, they will be punished under the law. That’s all. The notice does not say how the people who fail to give up their weapons will be punished’, a resident in Thanbyuzayat told Mizzima.
This is the first instance of the Mon State Government trying to confiscate weapons from cease-fire group members.
Naing Aung Mangay, the secretary of Thaton District’s New Mon State Party (NMSP), said that the target of the order was not the NMSP. The NMSP has offices in Kyaikmayaw in Mon State and Kawkareik in Karen State.
‘The township authorities ordered the village’s authorities to post the notices. They did it in accordance with their laws. They do not target us’, said Naing Aung Ma Ngay, who is a central committee member of NMSP.
On the other hand, a military analyst in Burma said that the authorities are in fact targeting the NMSP.
‘In Mon State, the New Mon State Party is the strongest armed group. The authorities will execute the order in some villages and their next target is the NMSP’, the analyst said. Despite the order, the armed group will not give up their arms to authorities, he said.
An unknown armed group launched an attack on a telephone exchange office near Mudon Township on May 14, 2011. Since early June, the authorities have tightened security along the Mawlamyaing-Yay Road in Mon State.
In addition to the four existing security checkpoints along the road, the authorities have set up three more checkpoints which are located in Nyaungkon (the entrance to Mudon), Yogo the entrance to Mawlamyaing) and Welkali village near Thanbyuzayat.
NMSP foreign affairs official Naing Han Tha Paing Khine said that the order was issued because of the recent bomb blasts in central Burma and because of the fighting in Kachin State. On June 24, four bomb blasts occurred in Naypyitaw, Mandalay and Maymyo.
The Mon Peace and Defense Front (MPDF), the Karen Peace Force, some members of New Mon State Party and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army all have activities in villages in the townships where the authorities have ordered weapons to be turned in.