Wed 22 Apr 2009, IMNA
Shots were fired as conflict broke out for the first time between the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the breakaway group led by General Aung Naing, the Mon Peace and Defense Front (MPDF) over a tax dispute at a Water Festival ox fight in Mon State.
The clash happened on April 15th when MPDF officer, Nai Aie Chan, who was drunk at the time, demanded ‘tax’ from the organizers of the ox fight that was taking place near Sang Kalong village, Kyaikmaraw Township, Mon State, an NMSP controlled area.
An NMSP officer who was attending the ox fight intervened and ordered Nai Aie Chan to stop. An argument ensued between NMSP personnel and MPDF members and shots were heard at which point spectators fled.
According to an eyewitness, “The fighting didn’t last long and nobody was injured. However, a truck that was trying to escape went into a ditch and was damaged. People just ran back to their houses and shut their doors.”
This is the first recorded incident between the NMSP and the MPDF since the splinter group was formed last year when General Aung Naing split from the NMSP after holding secret talks with the Burmese regime.
According to sources in the NMSP stated that Nai Aie Chan is still a member of the MPDF.