Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) forces, who were on a tour campaigning for support, withdrew their forces from Loikaw Township on 16 May because they had not received government approval to be there.
Khu Nyaereh, the KNPP Loikaw liaison officer head said: “If we had continued with our trip there would have been confrontations with government forces. If that had happened it would have had a bad impact on the people. We are not scared of anything, but we respect the people, so we decided to withdraw our forces because it would be better for everyone.”
According to government policy the KNPP are not allowed to travel with arms. But, when the KNPP signed a ceasefire agreement the areas controlled by the KNPP, where they are allowed to carry arms, were not demarcated. Because there has been no proper demarcation Khu Nyaereh said the KNPP should be allowed to carry their weapons in Loikaw Towship.
Though the KNPP had asked President U Thein Sein and the commander-in-chief of the Burma Army to permit the KNPP troops to take part in the tour they received no permission.
During a meeting on 31 March the KNPP had informed the state government that a column of KNPP troops would accompany the touring group.
Sai Nai Nai Htwe from Kayah National Race Democracy Party said that the different parties pursuing peace in Karenni State, including the government, the Burmese military authorities and ethnic armed organisations need to build transparency and trust.
He said: “Although their side [the KNPP] has transparency I have no idea why the other side [the government] is so opaque in its decision making process.”
Because the KNPP forces are being banned from campaigning for support in this way they will discuss, at a central committee meeting, other ways they can inform people about their political plans and what they intend to do in the future.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI