Deaths and troop build up on Tavoy-Kanchanaburi road

Three Burma Army soldiers were killed and six soldiers wounded by Karen soldiers last week during an ambush on the Tavoy-Kanchanaburi road in southern Burma.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a KNU military Brigade 4 source said the Karen soldiers ambushed a Burma Army column from Light Infantry Battalion 407 on November 26 near the Law Aw deserted village.
Two days earlier the Karen soldiers also killed three Burma Army soldiers from the same battalion in a civilian vehicle, according to the source.

The recent increase in fighting follows the Burma government sending more than eight battalions to try to secure the 160-kilometer Tavoy-Kanchanaburi road, a controversial highway building project.

Part of the US$60billion Tavoy Development Project, that includes a deep-sea port, a giant industrial zone, roads, railways, hydro-dams, transmission lines and oil and gas pipelines, the Burma government initially awarded the Tavoy-Kanchanaburi road’s construction to the Italian-Thai Development Company (ITDC).

However, in September the KNU stopped ITDC’s construction of the road after local villagers and environmental groups complained the project would have a huge impact on the environment and cause the forced eviction of thousands of civilians.

According to a villager in the east of Tavoy, the Burma military is building its presence along the coastline of Tenasserim Division to the west of the Tavoy-Kanchanaburi road.

“For the last two days I’ve seen the Burma Army sending more troops, horses and about 20 trucks to the Tenasserim coastal area,” the village said who did not want to be named. “They are now conducting military training and they may prepare an offensive against the KNU in this area.”

The KNU has warned civilians and companies in the area not to carry or transport the Burma Army, their food or supplies.

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