Representatives of the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) and four members of the Northern Alliance — KIO, MNTJP, PSLF, and ULA — held talks on 31 August for ceasing the ongoing armed conflicts at the earliest.
In a recent early morning gunbattle at Moheik village, Kutkai, northern Shan State, three women and two children, including an infant, lost their lives.
The armed conflicts that started on 15 August in the northern Shan State have already claimed several lives and caused heavy damage to property.
From the attacks on PyinOolwin at the eastern edge of Mandalay Region to the skirmishes all along the road to Lashio and Muse in the northeastern part of the country, the people have had more than their share of suffering.
Let alone the torching of heavy trucks, passenger coaches, and private cars during the conflicts, even ambulances on rescue missions were not spared. Civilians were caught in the crossfire, and the wounded and the sick could not get access to medical treatment. Some of the more unfortunate civilians were arrested and tortured, simply on suspicion, according to the natives.
Normal traffic ground to a halt on the Union Highway, the main trade route between China and Myanmar, as bridges on the facility were blown up, burnt-out cars were placed as road blocks, and sporadic skirmishes occurred along the road. It is clear that the armed conflicts have had an adverse impact on trade and traffic flow.
Indeed, battles involve opponents using different weapons and tactics, but targeting communities, unarmed people, and innocent persons, and taking cover in towns and villages amounts to an act of terrorism.
The wish of the people is peace, not war, and everyone is aware of this. It’s about time use of armed struggle as a bargaining chip for political gains is seriously reconsidered.
The NRPC, KIO, MNTJP, PSLF and ULA have released a joint communiqué that supports the public hope for peace, national reconciliation, and cessation of armed conflicts at the earliest. Additionally, the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services has also issued a statement, extending unilateral ceasefire till 21 September.
Both the joint communiqué and the statement are encouraging signs for the peace-loving people of the country, who dislike playing games, as their great hope is the emergence of a democratic federal union through sincere and proactive efforts. Let’s keep their hopes and dreams for peace alive!