Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun from the Tatmadaw said that their use of drones was not for reconnaissance on Karen National Union (KNU) military camps and battalion headquarters under command of the 5th Brigade but for area security and area development work.
Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun said like that in his reply to question raised by a reporter at a press conference held on January 23 at War History Museum in Naypyitaw on the use of drones by the Tatmadaw (Defence Services) in areas controlled by military units under the command of the KNU.
The Tatmadaw explained that their drones were easily available at commercial markets and they used these drones bought by army units of company level and battalion level using their own money and own plans for security of the areas in which their military units were operating and marching, and for research work.
“We have already received full information on the locations of any military camps and units of KNU or any armed organization. We have already had such information of precise locations of these military units. We don’t need to use drones for getting such information by taking aerial photographs but there will be many ways in the using of these drones such as aerial photography for area development work etc. Some of them are for development work,” Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun said.
KNU 5th Brigade issued a press statement on January 21 which says that they protest against the flying of drones by the Tatmadaw over the areas controlled by their brigade for reconnaissance work.
This statement further says that the Tatmadaw sends drones twice a week flying over the areas controlled by KNU and they found these drones landed at the Tatmadaw military units when they sent their own drones in counter intelligence to chase them.
In this statement, KNU strongly protested the use of drones by the Tatmadaw as it could pose a threat to security of KNU and also it could undermine the mutual trust between two sides and use of these drones is in violation of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) Chapter III, paragraph 5, subparagraphs (a) and (b) and Code of Conduct (CoC) Chapter III, paragraph 8, subparagraphs (a) and (b).