INCREASED BURMA ARMY PRESENCE 31 1inch = 25 miles Map 10: Burma Army Garrisons in Papun District - 2004
DAMMING AT GUNPOINT 32 Increased Burma Army presence Before 1992, there were ten Burmese military garrisons in the whole of Papun District. Each year troops were sent into the area to conduct dry-season operations. The garrisons were stationed along the roads (Belin-Papun, and Kamamaung-Papun roads) accessing Papun Town and the surrounding area. In the northern part, the garrison was Pwagor, where its troops received supplies from Kyaut Kyi Town, in the Sittang valley. After the Burmese troops captured Sor Hta in October 1992, it installed more garrisons along the route from Kyaut Kyi (via Pwagor) to the Salween bank (Sor Hta). The route was known as the “Sor Hta Road” which made it increasingly difficult for the KNU and villagers to travel from the southern part of Papun District to the northern part of Papun and Toungoo District. Patrols were carried out by the Burmese troops and landmines were laid along the sides of roads. The Papun area falls under the Burma Army’s Southeastern Regional Command. After the military regime reached further ceasefire agreements with armed groups in other ethnic areas, troops from the other areas were sent into the area, including from the Sagaing Division 13 . Since 1992 until the present, the total number of garrisons and camps has now increased from ten to fifty-four in the whole of Papun District (See details in Appendix 2) Anti-insurgency measures In 1997, the Burmese military set up more military camps, mainly in Dwelo Township, west of Papun, in the areas they had cleared by offensives. This area was of strategic importance because after 1995 it had been used as a headquarter area by the KNU’s 1 st and 3 rd Brigades. Therefore in early 1997, the regime launched a military operation called “Operation Water Wave.” The aim of the operation was firstly to clear the area and secondly to set up garrisons to protect the food supply routes and to bring the population under military control using scorched earth tactics. 13 Karen Human Right Group, May 2001, SPDC & DKBA Orders to Villages: Set 2001- A includes an order of SPDC troops operating in Papun District to a village using its formal seal with the address of their former garrison, Kalay Town of Sagaing Division.