INCIDENT REPORTS FROM TOUNGOO DISTRICT

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Published date:
Wednesday, September 23, 1992

These incident reports cover a case where a Muslim forced porter was violently abused and buried to his neck by SLORC Light Infantry Battalion No. 349, Lt. Myint Zaw on August 10th 1992, as well as other cases of forced labour, explicit threats and arbitrary demands for materials to strengthen a dam.

An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group
Manerplaw, September 23, 1992

On August 10, 1992, troops of SLORC Light Infantry Battalion No. 349, Lt. Myint Zaw commanding, were between the 2 villages of Kler Mu Ka and Plint Kee in the Toungoo-Than Daung road area. One of the porters they had with them was a 40 year old Muslim man named U Maung Saw, father of U Pa Ya, from Ka Chaw. The troops took U Maung Saw and beat him severely with a large wooden paddle they usually use to stir their rice, continuing to beat him until he was unconscious. Then while he was unconscious, they buried him in a standing position with his head sticking out of the ground and left him there.

Local villagers did not know U Maung Saw was there, and it was not until two days later that he had recovered from his beating enough to dig himself out. He found his way to Kler Mu Ka village, where he told villagers his story and asked for food and water. The villagers took care of him and then he set out to return to his home.

Throughout September 1992, SLORC troops in Htan Ta Bin township have been forcing the villagers to go as porters. When troops arrived in Zayat Kyi with one group of porters, they told the porters they could only go free if they paid 1,000 Kyat each. Later at Htan Ta Bin the troops raised the price for freedom to 6,000 Kyat each, and in Toungoo town they were demanding 10,000 Kyat per porter. Even so, some porters had managed to come up with the money and were released, only to be recaptured by other SLORC units on the way home and forced to be porters again.

In Htan Ta Bin Township the SLORC is planning to rebuild and strengthen the Zee Pyu Taung Gon dam. Thus far they have demanded that a local village provide 25 wooden posts each 14 feet long and six inches in diameter free of charge, and 40 empty rice sacks, 20 of which they stole from one man who owns a rice mill.

SLORC troops have also put up notices throughout the area that any villager found harbouring any deserters from the SLORC army will be fined 1,000 Kyat and imprisoned for 3 years under Law No. 173.

The owner of a sawmill between the areas controlled by Burma Regiment Nos. 73 and 39 has been ordered to give the troops 2 tons of hardwood (Pyin Ga Done wood, second highest quality to teak) free of charge.