The New Mon State Party (NMSP) has begun providing security patrol for rubber plantations in and around Yethakon Village, Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State, upon request of local rubber plantation owners who have faced threats and warnings from a Karen armed group.
NMSP units have begun providing security patrol for local rubber plantation owners after having contacted Karen National Union (KNU) groups in the area to make them aware of the Karen armed group’s threats, according to Captain Myo Htoy, commander of Thanbyuzayat Township unit of the Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA).
“[Rubber plantation] farmers said they are happy [that] our men are on guard [for them] like this. They are fear[ful] [of the Karen armed group]. We are also unhappy for what they have faced,” said Captain Myo Htoy, in an interview with IMNA.
Major Soe Soe of the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army – Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC) and General Latwae of the KNU summoned 48 rubber plantation owners from in and around Yethakon Village to attend a meeting on July 18th to discuss plantation issues. None of the plantation owners attended the meeting.
Major Soe Soe and General Latwae then posted a sign in three locations throughout Yethakon Village and nearby areas, threatening plantation owners to meet at the house of the head of village administration, with a deadline of July 22nd. Due to threat and warnings, plantation owners and farmers appealed to the NMSP for help.
“Bo (General) Latwae and Ko Thar-nge are the ones who are confusing [causing this issue], because they have demanded money from the rubber plantation owners over and over again. How can they (plantation owners) afford to provide such money? That is why they [have] requested help [from the] NMSP,” said a local villager from Yethakon village.
In an interview with IMNA, Major Kyi San, NMSP joint-battalion commander of Moulmein District, said that the [Moulmein District ] unit will continue to provide security patrol for rubber plantation owners and workers in the Yethakon area until the time comes for the rubber trees to be harvested.
“In [the] next month, it will be time to harvest (tap) rubber trees. It will be much better if the NMSP provides patrol and security for the rubber plantation farmers and workers like this [moment] again. So, it will be no concern or danger, harvesting rubber trees,” said local rubber plantation owner Ko Soe Aung.
Major Saw Aung Chit, who is in charge of the Hpa-an based KNU/KNLA-PC liaison office, said that, in regards to KNU/KNLA-PC’s connection to this matter, the KNU/KNLA-PC liaison office will inform the heads of the KNU/KNLA-PC to make a public announcement.
Signs posted by the Karen armed group were located in three different locations on the Thanbyuzayat-Yethakon-Three Pagodas Pass highway.
The signs read, “Warning; with the deadline of 22.7. 2014, the rubber plantation owners in Yethakon area must show up at the meeting [with Karen armed group] and if they are not present, there will be no responsibility [from the Karen armed group] if anything happens to the plantations later”; the sign is undersigned by Major Soe Soe of KNU/KNLA-PC and General Latwae of the KNU.