Update on Burma Activity in Karen State, Burma

30 October 2015
Karen State, Burma

In This Report

  • Burma Army increases presence in Papun area of Mutraw District
  • Burma Army stockpiles mortar rounds and ammunition at bases in Mutraw and Butho Districts
  • Fighting occurred between Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and Burma Army troops Kwee Nei and Meh Ka Naw on 30 September 2015, resulting in injuries and deaths on both sides.
  • 48-year-old man tortured and interrogated by the Burma Army
Karen State 5th Brigade

On 11 October the KNU and seven other armed groups signed a ceasefire with the Burma Government. This was despite military buildup by the Burma Army in Karen State and clashes with the Karen National Liberation Army (the armed wing of the KNU) in the two weeks prior to the signing. Details of Burma Army activity in Karen State are below.

Burma Army Activity in Butho District, Karen State

On 28 September 2015,  Burma Army soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 209 – under command of Division 22 – were active in Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) Battalion 102 and Company 4 areas of Butho District, Karen State. Specifically, these Burma Army soldiers were seen in Meh Ka Naw, Bwey Gay, Bo Gyi, and Ler Kyew Villages.

On 30 September at 10:23 am, the same Burma Army battalion returned to the area between Kwee Nee and Meh Ka Naw Villages. Meh Ka Naw Village is close to the car road that leads to Papun. Here, fighting commenced, resulting in the death of one KNLA soldier, as well as the wounding of one Burma Army soldier and the death of another.

On 30 September at 2:30 pm , Burma Army LIB 205 under command of Division 22 entered Butho Township. While in Me Ga Naw Village in Butho, a Burma Army soldier tortured a man named U Hta Oo*, a 48-year-old villager from Kler Mu Daw Village. Troops were searching for the KNLA and the soldier asked him if he had seen any KNLA soldiers. The soldier hit him with the end of his barrel in the side of the ear, and then in the chest. Due to the beating, a great deal of blood came out of his ear.

On 5 October 2015 Burma Army Light Infantry Division (LID) 22 and LIB 202 that stay in Mae Prey Kee transported three 120 mm mortar tubes along with 500 mortar ammunition rounds.

On 6 October 2015 at 9:30 am, General Min Aung Hlaing came to the Burma Army base in Papun with his military personnel. At 11:30 am he met with Burma Army soldiers. The general left Papun later the same day. 11 army trucks were sent to Papun with Burma Army soldiers and with 120 mm mortars.

The same day troops also transported one mortar with 150 rounds to Kay Ku Camp.

On 7 October 2015, 150 mortar rounds were sent to Mae Wei, with a 120 mm mortar tube sent the following day.

On 8 October 2015, more soldiers were transported in 15 trucks to Mae Ka Naw. From this village, some soldiers, supplied with ammunition, continued on to other outlying villages such as Bu Thu Traw, Mae Wei, and Na Gyi Su.

Witnesses have seen soldiers carrying a great deal of ammunition to camps and then returning without the ammunition, leading people to believe that the Burma Army are stockpiling weaponry in their camps.

With the movement of large numbers of Burma Army troops and weaponry in Mutraw and Butho Districts, local Karen residents in areas close to these activities have grown nervous about the Burma Army presence in the area.

* Name changed