The Burma Army has built four new military camps in as many townships, drawing local concern.
By KANTARAWADDY TIMES
The Burma Army has built four new military camps in Karenni State since its declaration of a unilateral ceasefire in December.
The Tatmadaw’s four-month ceasefire, announced on December 21, effectively stopped military operations for five military commands, including those in the east and north.
Located in Demoso, Shadaw, and Hpasawng townships, the bases have drawn concern from residents of the area and civil society groups, like the Karenni Civil Society Network (KCSN), which released a statement in late January highlighting the militarization.
“Local people feel so worried because the Tatmadaw is building new camps near villages. People are worried about clashes resuming,” Maw Oo Du, who is working with KCSN, told Kantarawaddy Times.
Villagers from Daw Hpu village in Demoso Township reported the construction of the new nearby military camp to township authorities. They say they now face difficulties traveling in the area and fear clashes reigniting between the Burma Army and the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), which is active in the area, and signed a state-level ceasefire with the military in 2012.
“They already built firm bunkers with hardwood and military communication lines,” Daw Hpu village administrator Ree Reh said.
People in Shadaw expressed similar apprehensions about the new army base in their township, which they relayed to their respective parliamentarians.
However, the authorities have dismissed these concerns.
“Military columns used to patrol in those areas. They would temporarily stay in those areas. They are doing what they have to do. It’s nothing to worry about,” an officer from the Karenni State government told Kantarawaddy Times.
Since December, following the unilateral ceasefire declaration, Burma Army soldiers from four battalions—Infantry Battalions 54, 428, 429 and 337—have stayed in villages in Demoso, Hpasawng, Shadaw and Mese townships.