The following report was prepared by Karen Rivers Watch (KRW), a coalition of six Karen organizations focused on the environment, women, youth, human rights and development issues. This report is based on field interviews with local villagers and leaders of Karen armed groups, as well as media coverage of the recent conflict. It describes events that led to recent armed conflict between the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and the combined force of the Burmese Army (BA) and Border Guard Force (BGF) in Karen State. Next, the report gives a detailed account of clashes that occurred along the Salween River in Hpa-an and Hpapun (Mutraw) districts. It also describes the current situation faced by more than 2,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), many of whom are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. It relates accounts of forced labor, looting of homes, confiscation of property, and increased militarization. Finally, it discusses how the recent fighting appears to be part of a calculated military strategy by the BA/BGF to control territory in Karen State, possibly motivated by plans to construct the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween River.
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