Middle-ranking Karen army officers claim that the Burma Army has taken advantage of last year’s historic ceasefire, signed between the government and the Karen National Union, to reinforce its position in territory controlled by the ethnic armed group.
Captain Saw Gyi No, the KNU Tee Mo Pwa area administration chairman in the Mergui-Tavoy District, in southern Burma, spoke to Karen News.
“This week the Burma Army has taken up positions in the KNU area in Ahmla and Baw Ya Ka Hta, close to the KNU’s Mergui-Tavoy District HQ.”
Captian Saw Gyi No said the Burma Army positions are strategically close to Myitta village and along the Italian-Thai Development Company car road.
Captain Saw Gyi No said.
“There are now more than nine Burma Army checkpoints along Italian-Thai Development Company car road. The Burma Army is taking advantage of the ceasefire by increasing their military positions.”
Captain Saw Gyi No claimed that the Burma Army is also extorting money from people using the roads.
“The Burma Army is collecting tax and money from travelers using the road and they are also checking the movement of KNU members.”
According to a KNU military source the Burma Army has concentrated its troops along the Italian-Thai Development car road. The KNU military source said the Burma Army operates from East of Myitta village to Kamaplaw and there are at least 20 Burma Army positions from two battalions under the command of the Burma Army Coastal Region Military Command and three battalions under the 19 Operation Commanding HQ.