Military Wiki
Fall of Manerplaw
Part of the Karen conflict
Date4 February 1995[1][2]
LocationManerplaw, Kayin State, Myanmar
Result SLORC victory
Manerplaw is captured by the Tatmadaw.

Myanmar (SLORC)

Karen National Union
Commanders and leaders

Kyaw Than
Tun Hlaing
Maung Hla

U Thuzana (DKBA)
Bo Mya
Units involved


Karen National Liberation Army
4,000 Unknown
Casualties and losses
None 10 killed
50 wounded
9,000[3]–10,000[4] 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).[1][2] 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.[1]


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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[3] 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.[1]


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.[1] As the Tatmadaw approached Manerplaw, an estimated 9,000[3] to 10,000[4] 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.[7]


The battle generated an estimated 9,000[3] to 10,000[4] 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.[8] 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.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "The Fall of Manerplaw. KHRG Commentary February 1995". Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Whither KNU?". Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Burma: Abuses Linked to the Fall of Manerplaw". Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Smith, Martin John (1991). Burma: insurgency and the politics of ethnicity (2. impr. ed.). London: Zed Books. pp. 283–284. ISBN 0862328683. 
  5. Smith, Martin (1991). Burma : insurgency and the politics of ethnicity (2. impr. ed.). London: Zed Books. ISBN 0862328683. 
  6. "About | Official Karen National Union Webpage". 
  7. "The history of Kawthoolei (Karen State): The KNU to fall of Manerplaw". Hartford Web Publishing. 1995. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  8. "Karen stronghold falls to the Burmese junta". Reuters. 21 February 1995. 
  9. South, Ashley (2011). Burma’s Longest war. Anatomy of the Karen conflict.. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Transnational Institute and Burma Center Netherlands. pp. 10, 14 and 16. 

External links

Coordinates: 17°43′30″N 97°44′06″E / 17.725°N 97.735°E / 17.725; 97.735

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