A Mon ceasefire group whose truce with the Burmese government ended in September last year has rejoined with its mother group, the New Mon State Party (NMSP).
Although small by anyone’s standards – the Mon National Defence Army (MNDA) has only 30 members – it has been waging war against a faction of the Burmese arm stationed in an area just south of Ye town in Mon state.
“We learnt that the NMSP’s ceasefire agreement with the junta ended on 1 September ,” said Major Ja Lwan Htaw, head of the MNDA. “After that, our comrades sat together and reconsidered our stance. Now we are re-joining with our mother party.”
The MNDA was one of three groups to have broken away from the NMSP when it agreed to a ceasefire with the Burmese junta in 1995. The NMSP’s Central Executive member Nai Tala Nyi said the group always welcomes the splinter forces who want to re-join with them.
Relations between the NMSP and the Burmese army dramatically soured last year after it refused to become a Border Guard Force.
It became one of a number of ceasefire groups to be threatened with force by the junta in return for not collaborating. NMSP troops were subsequently ordered to shoot on sight any Burmese army that strayed into its territory,
The rebirth of alliances between ethnic armies has also been see in Karen state, which is currently hosting intense fighting between Burmese troops and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), who also refused the Border Guard Force transformation.
The DKBA is joined by the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), whom it split from in the mid-1990s when it allied itself to the ruling junta.