Burmese Troops Deployed to Coastal, Border Areas
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Burmese Troops Deployed to Coastal, Border Areas

By MIN LWIN Monday, June 2, 2008


The Burmese military has been deploying infantry battalions and air defense artillery battalions close to the Thai-Burmese border area of Mon and Karen States and Tenasserim Division since late May, according to sources in the area.

“Burmese troops are on high alert in Mon State,” said Aue Mon of the Human Rights Foundation of Mon Land. “The Burmese military government has deployed additional troops along the coasts of Mon State and Tenasserim Division.”

He said that he believed the reinforcements were a precaution against a possible military intervention.

“Military Operation Command 19, which consists of 10 battalions, has been stationed in Kawzar Village, in Mon State’s Yee Township,” he said.

Mon sources also said that an artillery battalion with radar and air defense capabilities has been stationed in Anankwin Village, about 60 km from Three Pagoda Pass, since late May. The battalion belongs to Artillery Division 606, based in Thaton Township.

Analysts say that after border tensions arose between Burma and Thailand in 2001, the Burmese military increased its deployment of air defense artillery battalions in southern Burma. There are also 12 artillery battalions in Tenasserim Division under the command of Artillery Division 505, headquartered in Mergui Township, and 11 artillery battalions in Mon and Karen States, under the command of Artillery Division 606.

Meanwhile, the Burmese military government has also increased its deployment of light infantry battalions in cyclone-affected areas of Irrawaddy Division, since late May.

A resident of Laputta Township said some 3,000 Burmese soldiers from Light Infantry Divisions 66 and 11 were sent to areas hit by Cyclone Nargis last week. LID 66 is based in Pegu Division’s Prone Township, and LID 11 is based in Yemon Village, in Rangoon Division’s Hlegu Township.

The resident said the light infantry battalions were stationed in at least 6 outposts in Laputta Township and were responsible for the distribution of rice and other supplies to survivors of cyclone.

Ohn Kyaing, a spokesperson for a relief team sponsored by the opposition National League for Democracy, returned from Pyinsalu, Laputta Township on Sunday and told The Irrawaddy on Monday that security forces, including riot police, are also stationed along the Rangoon-Dedaye road in Kungyangone Township.

Htay Aung, a Burmese defense researcher based in Thailand, said that the Burmese military government deployed the troops along the coastal region and in the delta because it fears humanitarian intervention by the international community.

“Another possible reason the Burmese troops are being deployed along the border is political instability in a neighboring country,” he said, referring to recent rumors of a possible coup in Thailand.

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