|Fall of Manerplaw|
|Part of the Karen conflict|
|Karen National Union|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Karen National Liberation Army|
|Casualties and losses|
|9,000–10,000 civilians displaced|
The Fall of Manerplaw was the capture of the village of Manerplaw by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) on 4 February 1995. Manerplaw was the headquarters of several Burmese opposition groups, most notably the Karen National Union (KNU) and its armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). The offensive was nearly uncontested after the leadership of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) provided the Tatmadaw with information on KNLA positions and tactics, rendering them useless.
The Karen people of Kayin State (also known as Karen State) in eastern Myanmar (also known as Burma) are the third largest ethnic group in Myanmar, consisting of 7% of the country's total population, and have fought for independence and self-determination since 1949. The initial aim of the largest Karen opposition group, the Karen National Union, was to obtain independence for the Karen people. However, in 1976 they instead began to call for a federal union in Myanmar with fair Karen representation, and the self-determination of the Karen people.
Up until the fall of Manerplaw, the village had been subjected to several military offensives by the Tatmadaw, and was the location of several human right abuses by the military junta, including forced labour and extrajudicial punishment. Prior to the battle, U Thuzana, leader of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, brokered a deal with Major General Maung Hla, the southeastern regional commander, and attempted to persuade Karen villagers to evacuate to DKBA protected refugee camps. Thuzana also attempted to persuade soldiers of the KNLA to defect to the DKBA and assist the Tatmadaw.
On 4 February 1995, 4,000 Tatmadaw soldiers advanced towards Manerplaw, capturing several nearby villages. The Min Yaw Kee ridge, which in 1992 had been fiercely defended by the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the armed wing of the Karen National Union (KNU), was captured without a single shot being fired. Soldiers from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army assisted the Tatmadaw, providing information on KNLA positions and guiding them through the jungle to Manerplaw. As the Tatmadaw approached Manerplaw, an estimated 9,000 to 10,000 civilians fled from the village and its surrounding area, including from nearby refugee camps.
When the Tatmadaw finally reached Manerplaw, they were met with little resistance; the leadership of the KNU/KNLA had ordered most of their soldiers to retreat to their jungle bases, and the roughly 3,000 inhabitants of Manerplaw had already been evacuated.
The battle generated an estimated 9,000 to 10,000 refugees, most of whom fled to refugee camps on the Myanmar-Thailand border. After capturing Manerplaw, the Tatmadaw advanced towards nearby villages it previously could not reach, eventually reaching the southern KNU stronghold of Kawmoora, which fell to Tatmadaw soldiers on 21 February 1995. A direct consequence of the fall of Manerplaw and its aftermath was that the KNU lost most of its income derived from local tax revenue, logging deals and cross-border trade, as the Tatmadaw captured several border towns.
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