Sent from Karenni FBR team now in the field. 12 November 2007
|Map: Burma Army and proxy armies in Karenni State.|
Burma Army Activities
Due to Burma Army oppression there are over 70,000 Karenni people displaced in hidden sites, new villages, rebuilt villages and forced relocation sites.
Burma Army units now operating in Southwestern Karenni State are: IB 134, 135 and LIB 530. These units are based out of Pasaung. IB 135 and LIB 530 are providing security for the Mawchi-Pasaung Road and the Mawchi mines. IB 134 is patrolling north from Pasaung and Bawlake.
Burma Army units in Southwestern Karenni State are patrolling the area and use prisoner porters in support of major operations. The troops are also providing security for the rebuilding of the Mawchi to Toungoo (Karen State) Road. The road is currently only useable for six miles from the Karenni side from Mawchi. The total road distance is 96 miles and from the Karen and Karenni border to Mawchi is 22 miles. The Karenni resistance is attempting to stop this road which, when complete, will facilitate the movement of the Burma Army in Karenni State. A combination of resistance sabotage of the road and rainy season landslides have stopped the work temporarily.
There is a curfew in this area and villagers are not allowed to move at night or stay over night in their farm huts.
In October there was fighting between the Burma Army and pro-democracy Karenni resistance (KNPP forces) in the Htoo Chaung River area west of Pasaung.
Proxy Forces of the Burma Army
The Burma Army uses two proxy forces, the KNPLF and KNSO, to control and attack the population.
1) Karenni National; Peoples Liberation Front (KNPLF)
The KNPLF controls the new mine at Say Ka Law Ko, southeast of Mawchi. They have a camp in this area.
2) Karenni National Solidarity Organization (KNSO)
The Burma Army also uses the KNSO to exert control over the population in this area.
The KNSO have built a new camp at Ka Ser Pia Tin near Lo Ka Lo.
They have a small force of 20 soldiers in Mawchi that work under the authority of the Burma Army.
The KNSO has its main headquarters in Kemapew (near Pasaung) on the Salween River. The primary activity of the KNSO is to try to profit from local trade, control the population and attack the Karenni pro-democracy resistance. This year there has been little fighting between the KNSO and resistance as the KNSO is focused on developing trade and transport routes.
There has been no recent fighting between the pro-democracy KNPP and the KNSO or KNPLF in this area.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
In 2007 there have been few new Karenni IDPs because of the reduction in Burma Army attacks in this area. There is pressure from the International community. Also, the Burma Army knows that there are many human rights groups in the area that can document any human rights violations. The Burma Army units now in this area seem to be trying to win favor from the villagers by not attacking them as they did last year.
There have been cases of Karen IDPs who have fled Burma Army attacks coming into and staying in Karenni State.
There are a total of 28 Burma Army Battalions operating in Karenni State. Units are identified by area and some of the units are as follows: ROC and MOC6 and elements of Division 55 are active in Karenni State.
Bawlake: LIB 337, LIB 429, and LIB 430
Demawso: IB 102
Pruso: Military Operations Command (MOC) 6 and LIB 428, LIB 531
Loikaw: Regional Operations Command (ROC) = including 10 Battalions: HQ BN, LIB 427, IB 261, IB 7, IB 18, IB 112, IB 117, LIB 508, LIB 509, and LIB 512.
Lawpita: IB 72
Thank you and God Bless you,
Karenni Free Burma Rangers