Fighting breaks out between Tatmadaw and KNLA near the proposed Hatgyi dam site


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Fighting breaks out between Tatmadaw and KNLA near the proposed Hatgyi dam site

Published date:
Friday, September 7, 2018

This Short Update describes fighting that broke out between Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) Company #4 and the Tatmadaw Light Infantry Division #44 subordinated Infantry Battalion #2 in Bu Tho Township, Hpapun District.

  • The fighting took place on 28th August 2018 in Htee Meh Klar area, and east of T’lar Aw Koh village the following morning.
  • On 31st August, the Tatmadaw resorted to indiscriminate shelling around Ka Nyee Naw village. These skirmishes were triggered by the Tatmadaw entering into KNLA controlled territory in search of the Democratic Karen Buddist Army splinter group, without obtaining prior consent from the KNLA. However, a KNLA commander believes that the Tatmadaw was trying to establish control of the areas in proximity to the proposed Hatgyi dam site.
  • The fighting displaced people from neighbouring villages, who sought shelter in Mar Lar Yut, Moe Aye Myaing, Moe San Myaing, Lay Lone Myaing and Deh Htaw villages and Oh Taung monastery. The threat of ongoing fighting has prevented a number of displaced people from returning to their villages.
  • On September 7th, KHRG received an update from the field that Tatmadaw LID # 44 is retreating from Ka Nyee Naw village. 


[1] KHRG trains community members in southeastern Burma/Myanmar to document individual human rights abuses using a standardised reporting format; conduct interviews with other villagers; and write general updates on the situation in areas with which they are familiar.

[2] The LID # 44 Tactical Operation Commander is Min Min Htun, based in Ka Ma Moh Town. The subordinated IB # 2, comprised of 110 troops, is led by battalion commander Ko Ko Win and deputy battalion commander Win Thu.

[3] The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) was re-formed on January 16th 2016 as a splinter group from the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (2010 – present), and is also referred to as Na Ma Kya (‘Deaf Ear’). During fighting between the Tatmadaw and DKBA Benevolent throughout 2015, there was internal disagreement within the DKBA Benevolent which resulted in a number of commanders being dismissed in July 2015. These former commanders then issued a statement in January 2016 declaring the formation of a new splinter group. This organisation has phrased the formation of this group as the revival of the original Democratic Karen Buddhist Army which was formed in 1994 until it was broken up in 2010 into the BGF and the still-active DKBA Benevolent. The group is led by General Saw Kyaw Thet, Chief of Staff and General Saw Taing Shwe aka Bo Bi, Vice Chief of Staff. Other lower ranking commanders in the DKBA Buddhist splinter group are San Aung and late Kyaw Moh aka Na Ma Kya (reportedly killed on August 26th 2016). The group is currently based in Myaing Gyi Ngu area in Hlaing Bwe Township, Karen State. This DKBA Buddhist (2016 – present) should not be confused with the DKBA Benevolent (2010 – present) from which it broke away in January 2016, or with the original DKBA (1994 – 2010) which was broken up in 2010 into the BGF and the DKBA Benevolent. Importantly, the DKBA Buddhist has not signed the preliminary or nationwide ceasefire with the Myanmar government whereas the DKBA Benevolent has signed both agreements.