The “Four Knife” was first used against the Karen in the 1960s and was deployed in Rakhine State in 2017.
After seizing power from the elected government in the coup on February 1, the Myanmar military, also known as the armed forces, appears to have resumed its “four cuts” strategy to eliminate resistance to its rule.
But what is the “four cuts”?
According to Naw Htoo Htoo of the Karen Human Rights Organization, the Burmese army began using “four layoffs” in the 1960s to try to quell armed resistance in areas controlled by the armed forces. Karen National Union Myanmar National Armed Group (KNU).
“They target every person and village they think is connected to KNU,” she said. “They opened fire indiscriminately on Karen villages, destroying all food and aid items they believed to support the Karen National League…restricting medical assistance in conflict-affected areas, arresting people they suspected of providing aid and food, And arrested their families… They also used widespread sexual violence and forcibly relocated entire communities.”
The Burmese army also used four layoffs in Kachin State. The ceasefire between the Burmese army and the Kachin Independence Organization broke down in 2011. More than 100,000 people fled their homes in renewed fighting. In Rakhine State, the Burmese army The battle with the Kachin Independence Organization is taking place in Rakhine State. The Arakan Army displaced 230,000 people between 2018 and 2020.
In August 2017, in a self-proclaimed Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) After a coordinated attack on a police post in northern Rakhine State, the Burmese army conducted a so-called “clearance operation” for all Rohingya in northern towns of the state.
Mass arson, rape and killing caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee across the border to Bangladesh, and Myanmar is now the subject of genocide accusations by the International Court of Justice.
Many ethnic minorities hope that the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, which has been in power from 2016 to the coup d’état, can hold the Burmese army accountable for their violence in ethnic minority areas.
However, she and her party, the National League for Democracy, have repeatedly supported the Burmese army in launching attacks in ethnic minority areas and preventing international humanitarian assistance from reaching displaced people; Aung San Suu Kyi also defended Burmese genocide charges in The Hague in 2019.
“The NLD government failed to stop or condemn [four cuts] Although it has a chance,” Naw Htoo Htoo said.