An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group
Manerplaw, September 12, 1992
Beginning in November 1991, SLORC regiment nos. 10, 317 and 14 built a car road from Bilin to Papun (75 miles) for use in transporting ammunition and supplies to the battle front at Twee Pa Wih Kyo (Sleeping Dog Mountain), where they mounted this year’s main offensive against Manerplaw. The car road passed through villages and rice and sugar cane fields. As it was harvest time, farmers had cut much of their rice, gathered it in sheaves, and laid them in the fields to dry and be collected.
All the fields that the road went through were destroyed, but the SLORC paid no compensation to the farmers. Instead, they took all the sheaves of rice that the farmers had cut and threw them on the muddy parts of the road to keep their trucks from getting stuck. All of this rice was destroyed.
As the SLORC troops passed through villages such as Pe Ya Raw, Lay Kay, Tar Paw, Kyo Waing, Htee Pa Doh Hta, Yoh Klah, and Ler Klaw, they took rice from the villagers for their rations, and promised to replace it later. After the road was finished, a SLORC convoy driving on it was intercepted by Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) soldiers, who destroyed at least 30 of the trucks. As retaliation, the SLORC demanded that the villagers pay them 500,000 Kyat for every truck destroyed by the KNLA. There was no way the villagers could pay, so instead the SLORC said they had cancelled the debt of rice which they already owed the villagers for their rations.
Since the road has been completed, the SLORC troops have rounded up all the women, young and old, from all the villages along the road to sweep it for mines every time one of their convoys is going to come along. They only use women because the men all hide in the forest to avoid being taken as porters, and because they don’t trust men near the road. The women have to take the stems of palm leaves and use them like brooms to sweep the road, while a line of SLORC soldiers walks behind them with their guns at the ready. The women from each village must sweep the road like this halfway to the next village in both directions. Even after all this, when the convoy passing along the road comes to a stretch where they are suspicious of mines, the troops round up many of the children from the surrounding villages and make them all ride along with them on the trucks.