On December 21, 2018, the Burmese Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing announced a unilateral ceasefire in five regional command areas, including the Eastern Command area which covers Karenni State. However, the Burma Army has built four new military camps in Karenni State since the ceasefire announcement, raising suspicions among local communities that they are preparing for renewed war, not peace.
On December 23, 2018, 20 soldiers from LIB 54 led by the second battalion commander moved into Daw Pu village, Daw Pu village tract of Demawso township and built a new army camp there. The village administrator (headman) wrote a complaint letter to the township administrator but there has been no response to it.
On December 24, 2018, 20 soldiers from Mawchi-based LIB 428 led by second battalion commander Aye Chan Soe came in and built a new camp at Nat Ye Thweh Pauk (Bo Than Win Gone), five miles away from Htoo Chat timber storage ground in Pasaung township. On January 3, 2019, 60 soldiers from LIB 337 based in Bawlake town combined with the troops from the new camp in Nat Ye Thweh Pauk patrolled along the west of the road between Loikaw and Mawchi.
On January 1, 2019, 20 soldiers from Burma Army LIB 429 led by battalion commander Han Win Tun came in and built a new camp near Daw Wiraw village and Thiri Dah village in Shadaw township. Villagers have collectively sent a protest letter to their MP, but no action has been taken in this matter.
On January 7, 2019, 30 soldiers from Bawlake-based LIB 337 led by Battalion commander Zaw Myo Tun came into the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) area and built a new camp at Nam Mahn Kee in Mae Set township saying that they would temporarily base themselves there for only three months.
The aim of building new camps is clearly to expand into and control more areas where KNPP troops are active, continuing a process which has been taking place since the signing of the 2012 bilateral ceasefire between the Burmese government and the KNPP.
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The Daw Pu headman’s letter
Protest letter by villagers from Daw Wiraw and Thiri Dah
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