Four Cuts

Four Cuts
   (Pyat Lei Pyat)
   An integrated counterinsurgency strategy adopted by the Tatmadaw in the late 1960s to deny ("cut") food, funds, information, and recruits to ethnic minority or communist insurgents. The "Four Cuts" resembles the British "new villages" program used during Malaya's Emergency (1948-1960) and the "strategic hamlets" program carried out by U.S. forces in South Vietnam. The countryside was divided into three zones: black (where insurgents exercise control), brown (disputed by insurgent and government forces), and white (insurgent-free). Villagers in black or brown areas were forcibly relocated to "strategic villages," and the adjoining territory was turned into a "free-fire zone" where the Army could with impunity eliminate anyone suspected of being an insurgent, including villagers in search of food stored in their evacuated settlements. Although the cease-fires initiated in 1989 ended Tatmadaw counteinsurgency operations in many ethnic minority areas, the "Four Cuts" are practiced in areas where resistance against the central government continues. In the mid-1990s, for example, an estimated 300,000 people in central Shan State were forcibly relocated to new settlements in order to uproot popular support for the Shan State Army.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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