Burma Army Patrols Unsettle, Resettled Displaced Karen

Burma army patrolling in Karen village

Despite being resettled, displaced Karen villagers in Thar Mae Plaw, in southern Burma, are still living in fear after the Burma Army repeatedly entered their newly resettled site.

Saw Honny, a relief worker helping the displaced to resettle in Thar Mae Plaw spoke to Karen News.

“Burma Army, Infantry Battalion 101, about 26 soldiers led by 2nd Battalion Commander Aung Ye Kaung, patrolled around the Tha Mae Plaw area on October 26. The resettled Karen IDPs in Tha Mae Plaw were frighten and all the men ran to hiding places.”

Saw Honny said the resettled villagers are still scared of the Burma Army and that no one has explained to the villagers why the soldiers are in the area.

“The same troops came into Thar Mae Plaw on three occasion recently. Now the villagers fear the Army and are worried to keep living here. People still distrust the Burmese soldiers and worry when they see their patrols in this area.”

The KNU and Burmese government reached a cease-fire in 2012. Thar Mae Plaw is one of the pilot projects for the relief and resettlement of Karen villagers who were affected by armed conflict between the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Burmese government.

Both the KNU and the Burma government agreed to the pilot project after the 2012 ceasefire. There are more than 1,000 Karen villagers resettled in Thar Mae Plaw in Palaw Township, east of Myeik Town.

Saw Honny warned that if the Burmese troops continue to enter the area it could also cause conflict with Karen soldiers.

Saw Honny said.

“The Burmese troops came to the area without informing the Karen soldiers based there, it almost caused a clash with the Karen soldiers. If the Burmese troops continue to enter and patrol in the area in secret like this it could create conflict with the Karen soldiers.”

The Border Consortium estimates that there are more than 400,000 displaced people in southeastern Burma. The TBC reports that more than 3,600 villages in south-eastern Burma were destroyed or abandoned since 1996 because of militarization.

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