FBR REPORT: A Compilation of Burma Army activities since 12 January 2012, as of 23 March 2012
Karen State, Burma
23 March, 2012

In This Report:
  As we continue relief missions in Burma we also are monitoring the situation as regards to the different stages of ceasefire negotiations and the situation the ground. There have been good reforms including the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and permission for her National League for Democracy to contest by-elections on 1 April 2012, freeing of some political prisoners and some relaxation in media censorship. However, Burma Army attacks, human rights abuses and troop movements continue in ethnic areas. The following are a compilation of Burma Army activities in Karen, Kachin, Karenni and Arakan States since 12 January 2012, the date of a preliminary agreement toward a ceasefire between the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Government of Burma on 12 January 2012. One of the 11 points to which the government “agreed in principle” at that time was to cease fighting in all ethnic areas. As this is a compilation, all incidents have been previously reported unless otherwise noted.

Karen State

On 12 January 2012, a preliminary agreement toward a ceasefire was reached between the KNU and the government and both groups ordered their troops not to shoot at each other.

Taw Oo (Toungoo) District — Northern Karen State

22 January. Burma Army and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) forces fight between Lay Day Burma Army camp and Play Hsa Lo camp at 12pm. Burma Army had one killed and one wounded, the KNLA no casualties. Burma army troops and KNLA troops fought on the mule trail between Lay Day Burma Army camp and Play Hsa Lo (They Pu) Burma Army Camp as the Burma Army was sending supplies to Play Hsa Lo camp. Play Hsa Lo, Htaw Ta Htoo Township, Taw Oo District, Northern Karen State.

The Burma Army has continued to resupply camps with food and troops. On 5 February 2012, Division 66 used vehicles and forced labor in the Kler Lah Area (Klay Soe Kee Village, Kaw Soe Koh Village, Gah Mu Der Village, and Der Doh Village) to carry food supplies from Ta Aye Hta Camp to Bu Hsa Kee Camp. On 3 February, Division 66, commanded by Win Bo Shew, arrived in Kler Lah Camp to take the place of MOC 9. On 1 February 2012, Light Infantry Battallion (LIB) 377 (stationed at Kler Lah Camp) forced one villager from Klay Soe Kee Village and two villagers from Der Doh Village to carry food from Klay Soe Kee Camp to Koe Day Camp. On 21 January 2012, the Burma Army sent food supplies from Moe Pya to Play Hsa Lo Camp. Food supplies have also been carried from Zaya Gyi to Tha Byae Nyunt and from Tha Bya Nyunt to Moe Pya. Military Operation Command (MOC) 9 also forced villagers from Play Hsa Lo Village, Yer Lo Village, Plow Baw Der Village, Hsu Lo Village, and Lay Gaw Lo Village to send 120 bamboo poles to build a new fence for Play Hsa Lo Army Camp.

Burma Army MOC 9 has stationed troops to secure the road between Bu Hsa Kee and Kay Pu in southern Taw Oo (Toungoo) and northern Mu Traw Districts, Karen State. On 9 March 2012 at 9:50am, a group of villagers tried to cross the road at Ka Thay Hta in the Si Day area. Before the villagers arrived to the road, local village defense volunteers went up to the road to check for security, and were fired on by Burma Army troops. One of the defense volunteers, Saw Lay La Thaw, age 23, died and one other was wounded.

Burma Army Division 66 is also securing the length of road from Kler La (Bawgali Gyi) to Bu Hsa Kee.

Mu Traw District — Northern Karen State

New Information: In early March, the Burma Army sent two more units, Light Infantry Division (LID) 11 and LID 77, to the Pa Pun area including mortars, ammunition and other supplies. LID 44 is in the Thoo Mwe Hta area. On 9 March 2012, LID 44 left Ka Ma Maung Camp with eight six-wheel trucks and also forced villagers to use their trucks to help with transportation. They arrived to Ka Ter Hti Village and divided into two groups there.

New Information: On 5 March 2012, shooting occurred between the Burma Army and Karen local village defense volunteers in the Plow Ta area of Lu Thaw Township. More fighting occurred on 8 March 2012 between the Burma Army and village defense, leaving one of the Karen men dead and another wounded.

The military is sending food to Burma Army Camps throughout Mu Traw District, including Muthey Camp and Paw Kay Ko Camp. On 12 February 2012, the Burma Army sent Division 7 to Ler Mu Plaw Army Camp, Lu Thaw Township. Burma Army troops have been guarding the route from Mae Pray Hkee Camp to Meh Way Camp in Dwe Lo Township (Division 44 Headquarters) in efforts to protect roads used to transport food and supplies.

24 January, Burma Army troops shot at villagers in Kay Pu area, Lu Thaw Township, Mu Traw District, Northern Karen State. At 0845 hrs on 24 January, Burma Army troops from MOC 9 shot at villagers near the old Kay Pu village site. The Burma Army has a camp above the old village that was abandoned when the Burma Army attacked here in major offensive in 2006. The villagers were animists on the way to religious ceremony. The Burma Army was patrolling down into the IDP areas near the Plo Lo Klo river (south of the junction with the Yunzalin river). When the Burma Army saw the villagers, they opened fire. The villagers ran and no one was hurt.

Kler Lwee Htoo (Nyaunglebin) District — Northwestern Karen State

On 16 February 2012 in Kler Lwee Htoo District, 15 Burma Army trucks carrying both food and army supplies arrived at Muthey Camp, afterwards going onto Paw Kay Ko Camp. The trucks carried 88 soldiers and one commander. Soldiers from Way Me Kwee Camp, Ee Tha Plaw Camp, and Thwein Boe Plaw Camp have recently cleared the brush near the car road.

24 January, Burma Army mortars and shoots machine guns into IDP and village areas in Ler Doh (Kyauk Kyi) Township. At 17:20 hrs on 24 January, Burma Army troops of the Southern Command, (Battalion 351 and Battalion 60 identified. One commander identified from Battalion 351- one Company Commander named They Ko) advanced on the Kyauk Kyi-Muthey-Hsaw Hta road, shooting mortars and machine guns into the surrounding area. Some of the mortar rounds were directed at the villagers of Khe Der village tract and in Khe der village itself the people are on alert. As the Burma Army moved they fired mortars, machine guns and small arms. Over 150 horses and mules are being used for their resupply operation now and we have a report of 60 trucks of ammunition, food and supplies but can confirm the 41 trucks we saw and videoed. We have not yet heard of any casualties however. The shelling was from Wa Me Kwee and Kler Soe camps.

Hpa-an District — Central Karen State

In Hpa-an District, the Border Guard Force (BGF) forcibly confiscated weapons from three Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) Camps, including Yin Pine Camp, T’kot Poe Camp and Wa Kleh Mu Camp. On 19 February 2012, fighting between the DKBA and the BGF resulted in two DKBA soldiers dead, five BGF soldiers dead, one villager dead and one villager wounded in the Myai Gyi Ngu area.

Doo Pla Ya District — South Central Karen State

New Information: On 4 March 2012 at 3:30pm, a 22-year-old woman was raped by a Burma Army soldier outside Thay Baw Boh Village, Kaw T’ree Township, Doo Pla Ya District, according to KNU officials present in the village at the time of the crime. The victim, Naw La Lay Poh (name changed to protect the victim), had gone to buy fish in another village and was on her way back to her village when she was assaulted. She was beaten, including being hit with a rifle butt. As the perpetrator ran from the scene, he dropped his identification card, which identifies him as Maung Tin Tway from Bago Region. He is part of Infantry Battalion (IB) 299, commanded by Zau Zau U (second-in-command is Aung Thoo Win) which is under MOC 19, commanded by Than Win. His battalion was patrolling in the area at the time.

16-23 January, Burma Army soldier shoots villager, Burma army force villagers support their resupply activates. From 16/1/2012 to 23/1/2012 SPDC IB 61, IB 62, LIB591 and LIB343 advanced and secured the road in the Anankwin and Thaphuzaya areas. They resupplied food and supplies. When they arrived at Anankwin village, they told villagers to make baskets for their loads. Four baskets from Htee Kler Ni, 10 from Htee Ler Hsaw, 10 from Lu Shah and 10 from Mae Klu villages, Waw Ray Township, Doo Pla Ya District, South Central Karen State.

18 January, a soldier from SPDC LIB 562 (battalion commander Kyaw Soe Naing) under control of MOC 5, shot a villager, Saw Pa Dah, 35 years old from Ta Pho Poh Hta village, Noh T’kaw township, Doo Pla Ya District. Saw Pa Dah was wounded in the leg.

On 29 January 2012, Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 346 asked villagers from Par Klaw Kee Village, Mae Ka Ti Village, Htee Yo Kee Village, Htee Mae Baw Village and Kyaw Kee Village to send 12 trailers of food to Mae Ka Ti Burma Army Camp. Each village was forced to carry 30 bags of rice. On 27 January 2012, the Burma Army increased troops in Seitkyi, Kaw T’ree Township with the addition of Military Operations Command (MOC) 19, which numbers approximately 240 soldiers. Two days later, an additional 170 soldiers arrived under MOC 19. Under Commander Myo Thant Zin, they replaced LIB 563 in the Ka Li Kee area.

Positive Encounters

28 January, Burma Army troops and KNLA troops shake hands at a road crossing. Ler Mu Plaw, Lu Thaw Township, Mu Traw District, Northern Karen State. At 1145 hrs on 28 January, Burma Army troops on the Saw Mu Plaw-Baw Ga li Gyi road between Saw Mu Plaw and Ler Mu Plaw, met Karen KNLA troops on the road. The Burma Army called out, “Don’t shoot, we will not shoot you”. The Karen soldiers responded, “We will not shoot you”. The Karen troops moved out onto the road and talked briefly with the Burma Army troops. The Burma army troops said, “You can go back to your farms and villages now.” The Karen troops responded, ” We cannot go back to our homes until you leave your camps and this area.” The troops smiled and laughed together, shook hands and the Burma army troops continued down the road.

New Information: On 13 March 2012, KNLA troops crossing the car road near Tha Dah Der Village, Lu Thaw Township, Mu Traw District, met Burma Army soldiers on the road and shook hands.

Kachin State

The Burma Army continues attacks in Kachin State and has not agreed to a ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). Over 40,000 people have been displaced since the fighting began 9 June 2011. The Burma Army continues to reinforce troops. Fighting has reduced in some areas in recent months but is still frequent in the KIA’s 4th Brigade area in Northern Shan State.

New Information: Fifty armed men from Burma Army Division 99, Battalion 69, fired mortars into a KIA Camp near Ban Htang Village at 2pm on 15 March 2012. Fighting continued until 4pm.

From mid-January, the Burma Army was attacking within six miles of Mai Ja Yang, a city and a refuge for over 1,000 displaced people who fled from other areas since fighting started in June 2011. On 13 January 2012, 60 elderly people who are unable to walk were taken by car to a new Internally Displaced Person (IDP) site.

On 12 January 2012, Division 88 and Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 321 shot a villager named Mi San, age 40 and a father of three, from Kawng Nan Village, Lwe Je Township. He was returning from his farm when he met the Burma Army troops. They arrested him, tied his hands, and made him walk in front of the soldiers to show the way. After one Burma Army soldier stepped on a landmine, the soldiers became angry and shot Mi San. The bullet went through his mouth and out the back. The KIA found his body and started to burn the body, but Burma Army soldiers began shooting, forcing the KIA to leave the site. The Burma Army is telling local villagers that KIA killed Mi San.

Karenni State

The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and the Government of Burma signed a ceasefire on 8 March 2012. The ceasefire did not include any restrictions on Burma Army movements in Karenni State. Twenty-three Burma Army battalions are operating in Karenni State.

Prior to this agreement the following incidents occurred since 12 January:

On 14 January 2012, IB 295, commanded by Aung Zey Ya, killed a village man in Karenni State.

On 15 January 2012 in Hpruso Township, after a battle between the Burma Army and the Karenni Army, Burma Army IB 54 killed a 35-year-old villager named Lu Reh in Htay Byar Nyae.

Arakan State

In Arakan State, the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) has agreed to ceasefire talks with the government, but the talks have not occurred yet.

New Information: At 12:30pm on 14 March 2012, as an Arakan FBR team was providing medical treatment at a village in Paletwa Township, security personnel posted outside the village were fired on by soldiers from Burma Army Battalion 232. No FBR members were hurt.

God bless you,

Free Burma Rangers