Four villagers found sowing seeds on disputed land were arrested on May 23. Officers from the Border Guard Force caught the four villagers as they were planting trees in Mon State’s Kyaikmaraw township. Locals say the plot was made into a protected forest reserve in 2015, but the BGF insists that an overlapping parcel of 600 acres was set aside for military use in 2012.
The troubled second round of peace talks that began on May 24 in Naypyitaw got a needed boost of credibility, when the newly formed Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee (FPNCC) agreed to attend. The last-minute move capped months of uncertainty that shook rebel alliances reshuffled the complex web of armed groups.
The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) announced on May 23 that it would decline to attend the second round of national peace talks starting the following day. A last-ditch effort to entice the five armed groups on the council—allowing them to attend as “special guests” rather than observers—would not have fundamentally changed their role, and failed to sway the group’s decision.