June 21st, 2011
By JURI CHAI – Since yesterday, June 20th, residents have begun to notice heightened security by the Burmese military in Three Pagodas Pass (TPP), Karen State, and believe it is as a result of the June 14th attack in TPP.
This increase in security measures began in the morning yesterday and lasted until 11 p.m. at night, with authorities checking cars and motorcycles for suspicious persons. Those the authorities deemed questionable were checked meticulously and then let go, explained one TPP resident.
“Now that they [the town authorities] heightened security, there are a lot of soldiers in the town and they stop every car, every motorcycle, and they check for bombs [anything that can explode],” this TPP resident added.
After unknown militants launched an attack on Three Pagodas Pass on June 14th, the local authorities brought in reinforcements to patrol inside TPP and on the outskirts. It was not until yesterday, on the 20th, that soldiers began checking individual people and their belongings.
Security has heightened not only because of the militant attacks but also because Burmese authorities found bombs outside of Aung Tin Win’s house after his house was burnt down by RPG fire last week on the 14th as well as at the Electricity Distribution Center in TPP.
On June 20, three residents of Mae Khasa village entered TPP to buy foodstuffs. One eyewitness reported that when they were returning home, Burmese soldiers outside the center of TPP, in Taung Wine quarter, checked them and confiscated all the food stuffs before sending them on their way.
Local residents commented that the food confiscation by the military was a first time occurrence this year and that they believe the Burmese Army is trying to cut off support from the local people towards Karen armed groups.
The Burmese government’s Infantry Battalion No. 284, and Light Infantry Battalion Nos. 566 and 563 are positioned around TPP.
The Burmese authorities in TPP ordered all people living outside the center of TPP to relocate to the center of town on June 17th. Concentrated in TPP’s center, the Burmese authorities would better be able to protect the residents.
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