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It’s been about six months since fighting broke out between a joint Tatmadaw-Border Guard Force contingent and a splinter group of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA). Thousands of civilians remain displaced by the conflict a half-year later, despite months of relative calm in Karen State’s Hlaingbwe Township, where the clashes took place.
As preparations continue for the second iteration of the 21st Century Panglong Conference — expected to convene later this month — the conflict in Hlaingbwe Township is illustrative of the challenges facing the government: While the DKBA is party to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, the splinter faction waging battle with the Burma Army last September is not signed onto the accord, and is just one of several ethnic armed groups that have engaged in hostilities with the government over the past year.
In the accompanying video, DVB revisits our correspondent Ye Wint Thu’s trip to the Methawaw region of Karen State in September, then an active conflict zone.