MORE SLORC ORDERS TO KAREN VILLAGES

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MORE SLORC ORDERS TO KAREN VILLAGES

Published date:
Wednesday, May 11, 1994

Following are the direct translations of some typical SLORC written orders received by Karen villages, copies of which have been obtained by the Karen Human Rights Group. All of the orders were signed by SLORC officers, and in most cases were stamped with the unit stamp. Photocopies of the order documents themselves may be enclosed with this report, and if not they are available on request. Where necessary, the names of people, villages, and armycamps have been blanked out and denoted by 'xxxx' to protect the villagers. Many of the orders end with phrases like "Should you fail to obey it will be your responsibility". The villagers know that this means that should they fail for any reason, SLORC will likely send troops to loot the village, destroy some houses, seize porters, or in some cases shell the village with mortars.

An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group

Following are the direct translations of some typical SLORC written orders received by Karen villages, copies of which have been obtained by the Karen Human Rights Group. All of the orders were signed by SLORC officers, and in most cases were stamped with the unit stamp. Photocopies of the order documents themselves may be enclosed with this report, and if not they are available on request. Where necessary, the names of people, villages, and armycamps have been blanked out and denoted by 'xxxx' to protect the villagers. Many of the orders end with phrases like "Should you fail to obey it will be your responsibility". The villagers know that this means that should they fail for any reason, SLORC will likely send troops to loot the village, destroy some houses, seize porters, or in some cases shell the village with mortars.

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Order #1

Stamp:

Frontline Command
Frontline #42 Infantry Battalion No. 42 Infantry Battalion
Column 1 xxxx Village
Letter No. 109/4/001
Date 30-1-1994

To:
Chairman
Village Law and Order Restoration Committee
xxxx Village

 

Subject: Informing you that if an army truck sets off a land mine and is destroyed, your village will have to pay compensation.

Reference: Ya Ta Ka Pa Ca (33) of 94, 28-1-94, 1600 hours.
Overtime Message No. 54 Ye 2

1) With reference to the order from Forward Command of No. 33 Division to all Battalions under its command, all villages in the area specified in that order must provide road security day and night.

2) Villages must keep watch day and night. If an army truck is destroyed by a land mine, then villages in the area will be liable and must take responsibility as follows:
     a) If an army truck is destroyed by a land mine, the villages must pay a penalty of 1,000,000 Kyat (One Million Kyat).
     b) This penalty money must be paid within (7) days.
     c) If a village fails to pay, it will be burnt down, the villagers will be forced to relocate and their livestock and other property will be confiscated by the Army.
     d) Village leaders must come early in the morning at 5 a.m. every day to report to the Army officer.

3) Starting with the next convoy [after a mine explosion], the villagers in the area will have to ride along on the trucks.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Column Commander
Frontline Command
No. 42 Infantry Battalion

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Order #2

Date 15-1-94

Stamp:
#120 Light Infantry

Col. 2 Headquarters

To:  Chairman
xxxx village

Chairman of xxxx: As soon as you receive this letter, you must send (2) couriers to T--- village immediately. If you do not comply, we will bomb your village with heavy weapons.

[signed Kyaw Oo (?)]
on behalf of 2nd Column Commander


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Order #3

Date: 1994 March 4

Stamp:
Southwest Command Headquarters

 #2 Strategic Command Group
Pain Neh Daw Camp
Letter No. 1/2/1/U 1

To: Chairman
Village Law & Order Restoration Council
xxxx Village

Subject: Due to Government forestry laws, cutting and selling wood is prohibited

1) Regarding the above subject: due to the government forestry laws, unless you get a legal licence you cannot cut wood into timber, establish any kind of sawmill, carry, buy, or sell timber. All of these acts are strictly forbidden.

2) Unless you get a legal licence, you cannot use convoys of private vehicles to transport timber.

3) Villagers must comply with the above order. If you do not, we will take action according to the law, we hereby inform you.

 

[Sd. illegible]
(on behalf of) Operations Commander

Southwest Command HQ

#2 Strategic Command Group

[Note: This order was distributed to many villages. These same villages are now receiving SLORC orders to cut hundreds of tons of logs and firewood and ship it to SLORC army camps (see the next order), where the soldiers have it transported to market and sell it. This order is not intended to protect the forest, only to make sure that local villagers derive no profit from it. These profits are reserved for military units and "licence holders", generally Burmese businessmen with military links or foreign contractors who have paid large "licence fees" to the SLORC Army.]

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Order #4

Date: 1994 May [sic] 30

Stamp:

No. 1 Strategic Command
Southwest Command Headquarters Letter No. 003/3/St. Cmd. 1/ Ye 2

To: Chairman
xxxx Village

Subject: Further Request for (Class 2 Hardwoods) of at least one-ton size

Regarding the above subject, to develop the car road and bridges for Win Ta Pat and Lay Kay, materials are needed for the road and bridges. Your village's quota for #2 Class Hardwoods weighing more than 1 ton per log is (75) tons, with each log having circumference between 2 feet and 4 feet, length 10 feet [this is hard to read - it is either 10 or 18 feet], by 1994-May- ....... inform you. [Unfortunately, the second half of this order paper is missing.]

[Note: This order was sent to villages throughout the area. Note that it comes from Southwest Command Headquarters, the same group that issued the preceding order strictly forbidding villagers from cutting, transporting, buying, selling or carrying wood.   People in the area confirm that most of this timber being ordered by SLORC is not for bridges at all, but is later sold with all profit going directly to SLORC Army Southwest Command.]

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Order #5

Date: 2/1/94

Stamp:
No. 2 Company
No. 84 Infantry To/ Chairman

To: xxxx village

Subject: To provide road security effectively

1) Regarding the above subject, you must provide road security in the xxxx river area at xxxx village. This must be done effectively.  If anyone sees anything unusual they must report it immediately.

2) If any landmine explodes in the area you are responsible and you will have to pay 50,000 Kyat compensation. In addition, we will drive you out of your village. You willhave to sign verifying that you have received and understood this order.

3) You must clear the bushes within 100 yards on both sides of the road in the area you have been given responsibility for.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Company Commander
No. 2 Company
No. 84 Infantry Battn.
xxxx Army Camp

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Order #6

 

Date: 1994-March-15

Stamp:

Frontline #302 Light Infantry Battn.
No. 302 Light Infantry Battn. Estimate (H-036003)
Column 1 HQ Letter # 2100/20/U 5

To: Village Head
xxxx village tract

Subject: Collection of compensation for mine explosion

 

1) Regarding the above subject, because a landmine exploded between xxxx village and xxxx village on 13-3-94, you must pay compensation of 3,000/- (three thousand Kyat exactly).

2) Send the above amount of money to xxxx village head (xxxx) on 16-3-94 at the latest.

 

[Sd. illegible]
cc: Office Copy (on behalf of) Acting Commander

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Order #7

Receipt

To: xxxx, village head, xxxx village,

FOR: the land mine explosion near xxxx village

 

Total sum in money for the above: 20,000 Kyat

In Words: (Twenty Thousand Kyat) exactly.

7-2-92 this amount has been received by me on this date.

Following the order from #99 Division frontline headquarters.

Money transferred by: [Signature]
Signature: [Thumbprint] Signature:

Army Serial No.: Army 22169
Name: xxxx

Name: ; Lieut. Nyo Soe Min
Rank:
Army Department: ;

Army Department:  Frontline #84
Location:xxxx Village
Date: 7-2-92

Date: 7-2-92

[Note: this is a standard Army receipt form. The writing filling in the blanks is shown in italics. Nyo Soe Min is still demanding landmine compensation money these days, only now he is a Captain, Commander of Company #1 of 84 Battalion, and now he demands much more each time.]

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Order #8

 

Date: 24-2-94

Stamp:
No. 119 Light Infantry
Column #1

To: Mother xxxx and xxxx

Mother, I your son miss you, so I've written you this letter informing you to send seven male porters to me tomorrow, on the 25th or 26th, to xxxx. We will have you replace them once a week. Be sure to send them.

Missing you,

 

[Signature/24-2-94]

Lt. Min Than
Intelligence Officer

[Note: Most village heads are now middle-aged to elderly women, because the soldiers don't torture or kill them as often as men. SLORC soldiers often refer to older women villagers as "Mother".]

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Order #9

Date: 28-12-93

Stamp:
No. 84 Infantry
No. 5 Company

To: Chairman
xxxx village

Subject:    Do not sleep at your farms or fields.

 

Regarding the above subject, your village chairman must inform the villagers not to sleep in their farm or field huts. If we meet these villagers by accident while we are on patrol we will not take responsibility for what happens to them. We also order you to send wood and bamboo to xxxx Army Camp on 1-1-94.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Company Commander
No. 5 Company

 

[Note: Many villagers' farm fields are far from their villages, so during the growing season they build huts at their farms and stay there. Otherwise they will not have time to do all their field work, and animals will eat their crops by night. The real meaning of this SLORC order is to declare all areas outside of villages as free-fire zones where civilians will be shot on sight, and the villagers know this well.]

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Order #10

Date: 11-9-93

To: Village Head
xxxx village

Subject:     Going to your fields or farms

When the villagers go to their farms or fields, they must only take enough food for one person for one day, never for any more than one day. If we discover any disobedience to this order it will be your responsibility.

Stamp:
Location: xxxx Army Camp

Frontline #307
Light Infantry Battn. Army, Intelligence Officer
Column #1, xxxx Army Camp

 

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Order #11

Date 4-5-93

To: Chairman
xxxx village

Subject: To send villagers to the army camp for courier duty

1) Regarding the above subject, every village in the M--- area, eleven villages, must gather information regarding KNU rebel movements within a three-mile radius of their village. This must be reported by courier to the SLORC army camp at 10 a.m. each day.

2) Regarding the above, if we discover that you are not supplying information on KNU rebel movements then we will assume that your village is collaborating with the KNU, so we will destroy your village and relocate the villagers.

Stamp:

[Sd. illegible]
No. 308 Light Infantry Intelligence Officer
Frontline #1 Headquarters Frontline #308 Light Infantry

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Order #12

Stamp: 27 Dec. 93, 1000 hours
Frontline No. 42 Infantry Battn.
Column No. 2

To: Chairman (village head), xxxx village

For sentry duty we need 12 people with food for 3 days. You yourself must bring them to the column at xxxx. You must do this without fail. We have informed you.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Army Serial No. 14705
Major Maung Maung Kyaw

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Order #13

Date: 10-3-94

To:  Naw xxxx

When the courier arrives with this order, send 5 replacement porters if you can on 11-3-94. If you can't, just replace 4 of them and bring money for the other. Also, send 25 big bamboos to xxxx on the evening of 12-3-94. This is the last time. Give me help. Bring rice for the porters as well. (That's all.)

Respectfully,

[Sd. illegible]
Than Htun

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Order #14

Date: 13-3-94

To: xxxx

If you get this letter please send us the 21 big bamboos which I've asked you for. Send them to xxxx. This is the last time.  This time when you come to replace the porters please bring money for 3 persons. Nothing left to say.

 

Respectfully,
[Sd. illegible]
Than Htun

 

[Note: The "money for 3 persons" means ransom money to buy the freedom of 3 porters currently being held.]

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Order #15

Date: 19-3-94
To: xxxx village, Head.

Naw xxxx,

Come to me immediately when you get this letter. Bring 2 villagers with you for sentry duty.

[Sd. illegible]
Sgt. Than Htay
Frontline #84

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Order #16

Stamp:
Frontline No. 51 Infantry Battn 29-3-94.
Column 1 HQ

To: Village Head
(xxxx) village

Subject: Changeover of porters and couriers

Regarding the above subject, send us the same number of people to replace those already here, working for Frontline No. 51 Infantry Battalion at xxxx Army Camp. We inform you that you must not fail to send us these porters and couriers.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Military Intelligence Officer
Frontline #51 Infantry Battn.

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Order #17

Date: 1/1/94

Stamp:
No. 2 Company
No. 84 Infantry

To: Chairman
xxxx village

 

Subject: Providing security for the road and attending a meeting

1) Regarding the above subject, divide your village into sections to take turns providing security for the road. Also, come for a meeting on January 2, 1994 at xxxx Army Camp so we can tell you what you need to know.

2) Do not fail in this. If you fail it will be your responsibility.

 

[Sd. illegible, 1/1/94]
Company Commander
No. 2 Company
No. 84 Light Infantry Battn.

[Note: SLORC demands a certain number of slaves from each village based on village size. The village head is then told to "divide the village into sections" so that each group of families within the village does their share of the slave labour.]

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Order #18

Date 14-8-93

Stamp:
No. 14 Infantry
No. 2 Company

To: Chairmen (Village heads), xxxx & yyyy Villages

 

Subject: Summoning free labour

1) Regarding the above subject, the labourers which we summoned for the 18th are now required on the 17th. Each person must come with a machete to the army camp as soon as possible.

2) You must comply without fail.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Company commander
No. 2 Company
No. 14 Infantry
xxxx army camp

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Order #19

Date: 3-5-94

Mother

 

Mother, send us 20 cattle carts on the 5th of this month.

[Sd. "Aye/2"]

xxxx Army Camp

Note: Important. To carry wood and bamboo.

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Order #20

Stamp:
No. 84 Infantry
No. 5 Company

To:Chairman
xxxx village

Subject: To send cattle carts Date 30-12-93

 

Regarding the above subject, for use by our operations column our Battalion needs 3 carts and 30 logs, to be sent on 1-1-94.  You have been informed.

 

[Sd. illegible]

Company Commander
No. 5 Company
xxxx Army Camp

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Order #21

Date 16-2-94

Stamp:
No. 14 Infantry
No. 5 Company

To: Chairman
xxxx Village

 

Subject: Send two carts immediately

1) Regarding the above subject, two carts, while on duty, returned to xxxx Village on 15-2-94 at 6 p.m. without permission from the camp commander.

2) Therefore send two more carts to replace them to xxxx army camp tomorrow, 17-2-94, without fail. You will be held responsible if you fail to comply.

 

[Sd. illegible, 16/2/94]
Company Commander
No. 5 Company

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Order #22

Date: 5-1-94

Stamp:
No. 84 Infantry
No. 5 Company

To send cattle carts

Regarding the above subject, you must come to xxxx Army Camp on 9-1-94 at 12 midday, where you will be informed of our requirements.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Company Commander
No. 5 Company
xxxx Army Camp

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Order #23

Date: 6-11-93

Stamp:
No. 307 Light Infantry Battn.

To: Village Head
xxxx village

Subject: Order for wood, bamboo, and roofing

We inform you that your village must provide us bamboo in six-foot lengths: (50) lengths of small-diameter bamboo, (150) lengths of medium-diameter bamboo, (100) lengths of thick bamboo and (100) shingles of special leaf roof. Send it to xxxx Army Camp on 7 November 1993. Do not fail to do this.

 

[Sd. illegible]
(on behalf of) Intelligence Officer
No. 307 Light Infantry Battn.

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Order #24

Stamp:
#2 Column                      
#84 Infantry Battn.

To: Chairmam (xxxx village)

Subject:   Invitation to attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, we are going to build a gravel road under control of xxxx Army Camp. We will have a meeting about your involvement in this project. We respectfully invite you to attend the meeting.

Meeting time: 27/2/94, 10 a.m.

Meeting place: xxxx Army Camp

 

[Sd. illegible]
xxxx camp commander

[Note: Do not be fooled by the tone of this letter. The meeting is to demand large numbers for slave labour on the road from the village heads. If a village head doesn't attend, his village will face severe retaliation.]

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Order #25

Stamp:
No. 84 Infantry Battn.
No. 5 Company                         

 

Subject: Informing you to attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, we will give you orders about what we need in our camp. You yourself must come to xxxx Army Camp on 9-1-94 at midday, 12 o'clock.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Company Commander
#5 Company, xxxx Camp

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Order #26
[Note: The next 3 orders form a sequence: first, second, and final warning.]

Stamp:
No. 2 Company
No. 84 Infantry

To: Chairman, xxxx village

 

Subject:   Come and attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, you must divide all the villages into sections to take turns providing road security. Come to xxxx army camp on 8-1-94 without fail. If you fail to come it will be your responsibility.

 

 

[Sd. illegible]
Company Commander
#2 Company
#84 Infantry Battn., xxxx Camp

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Order #27

Date: 9/1/94

Stamp:
#2 Company
#84 Infantry Battn.

To: Chairman, (xxxx Village)

 

Subject:   Asking for an emergency meeting

Regarding the above subject, we will have a meeting on 10-1-94 for sure. Because of your absence we could not hold the meeting on 8-1-94 so we changed it to 10-1-94. This meeting is very important for you. We can't fail to have this meeting for any reason.  If you don't comply it will be your own responsibility.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Company Commander
#2 Company
#84 Infantry Battn., xxxx Army Camp

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Order #28

Date: 12-1-94

Stamp:
No. 2 Company
No. 84 Infantry

To: Chairman
xxxx village 

 

Subject: Holding an emergency meeting

Regarding the above subject, we ordered you to attend a meeting on 8-1-94 but you failed to attend. You also failed to attend on 10-1-94. We inform you that this is the last order telling you to provide road security and to attend a meeting at xxxx Army Camp. If you do not comply it will be your responsibility, and we inform you that we will take very severe action.

Provide the road security starting today, 12/1/94. If you don't, we will take severe action.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Company Commander   
No. 2 Company
#84 Infantry Battn., xxxx Army Camp

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Order #29

Date: 24-3

Stamp:
Frontline #51, Infantry Battn.
Column #1 HQ

To Village Head, (xxxx) village

Subject: Suppying Load Carriers

Regarding the above subject, we need five cattle carts for Frontline #51 Infantry. You have been informed. Send them to xxxx Army Camp on 25th March at (0600) hours.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Army Intelligence Officer
Frontline No. 51 Infantry Battn.

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Order #30

Date: 16-2-94

Stamp:
Frontline No. 98 Infantry Battn.
Column 1 HQ

To: Village Head
xxxx village

Village head:

We inform you that as soon as you get this letter, come and report to #98 Infantry at xxxx.

[Sd. illegible]
Commander    
Frontline No. 98 Infantry Battn.

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Order #31

Stamp:
Frontline No. 36 Infantry Battn.
Column HQ

To: Village Head
xxxx village

Subject:      Providing leaf roof to roof our huts

Regarding the above subject, to roof the huts at xxxx army camp, obtain and send (1,000) shingles of leaf roof, either in pat or selu pat type, to xxxx army camp, on 12-4-94 at the latest. We have informed you.

 

Frontline #36 Infantry Battn.
xxxx Army Camp

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Order #32

Date: 5-4-94

Stamp:
Frontline No. 36 Infantry Battn.
Column 1 HQ

To Village Head (xxxx village)

Subject:    Summoning the village head

1) We are going to discuss the area under the control of Frontline #36 Infantry, so your village head must come. If the village head is unavailable, the deputy village head must come, to xxxx army camp on 1994-April-7 at 9 a.m., without fail.

2) If you do not come as summoned to the army camp, we will take severe action. We have hereby informed you.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Intelligence Officer
No. 36 Infantry Battn.

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Order #33

Stamp:
No. 84 Infantry Battn.
No. 5 Company

To: Village Head
xxxx village

 

Subject:    Bring replacement porters and you yourself attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, you must replace the porters who have been with the column until now, and the village head must come to xxxx army camp to talk tomorrow, 8-3-94, at 10 a.m. We have hereby informed you.

 

[Sd. illegible, 7/3/94]
Camp Commander
xxxx Camp

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Order #34

Stamp:
Frontline No. 51 Infantry Battn.
Column 1 HQ

To: Village Head
xxxx village

Subject: Informing you to attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, we have to talk with you, so come and see the commander at xxxx army camp on March 24 at 0700 o'clock sharp. Come for sure, we inform you.

[Sd. illegible]
Location:  xxxx Army Camp

Intelligence Officer

Frontline No. 51 Infantry Battn.

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Order #35

Date: 30-3-94

Stamp:
To: Frontline No. 51 Infantry Battn.

To: xxxx village

Subject: Meeting with the village heads

All of your village committee must come to xxxx Army Camp as soon as you get this order. Come without fail, we inform you.

 

[Sd. illegible]

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Order #36

Date: 18-3-94

To: xxxx

I'm leaving you this note. Give the cost for one porter to Sergeant M---. In the future, we'll decide whether to keep doing it this way or not. For now, just pay the money. If you need any explanation ask Sergeant M---.

 

[Sd. illegible]

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Order #37

Date: 3-7-93

Stamp:
Frontline #84 Infantry Battn. #4 Company

To: Village Head
xxxx Village

Come to xxxx Army Camp today to talk and discuss things. When you come, bring one chicken.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Company Commander
#4 Company
xxxx Army Camp

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Order #38

Date: 14-4-94

Stamp:
Frontline #36 Infantry Battn., Column #1 HQ

To: Chairman
xxxx Village

Subject: Send leaf roofing to xxxx Army Camp

1) We ordered you to send (1000) shingles of leaf roofing to xxxx Army Camp on 12-4-94, but it has come to our attention that you didn't send them. Therefore, as soon as you get this letter go and send (1000) leaf roofing shingles to xxxx Army Camp.
 

2) You yourself must report to xxxx Army Camp on 17-4-94 that they have been sent.

3) If you do not comply, we will take severe action.

 

[Sd. illegible]
Intelligence Officer
#36 Infantry Battn.

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Order #39

Date: 15-2-94

To: Chairman
 xxxx village

Subject: Invitation to attend a meeting

We want to meet you to discuss things at xxxx Army Camp. Therefore we inform you that you yourself must come to xxxx Army Camp on 16-2-94 at 1000 (10) o'clock without fail. If you fail for any reason, it will be your responsibility.

 

[Sd. illegible, 15/2/94]
Camp Commander
xxxx Army Camp

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Order #40

Date: 13-3-94

To: xxxx

When the courier brings this letter, we ask 8 tins of rice from you for the porters. Please try to settle things.

Respectfully,

[Sd. illegible]
Column
Frontline #84

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Order #41

Stamp:
Frontline #84 Infantry Battn.
#4 Company

To: xxxx Village Head

We inform you to come and see us at xxxx Army Camp on 4-7-93.  If you can't come, send your secretary.

 

 [Sd. illegible]
Camp Commander
xxxx Army Camp

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Order #42

Subject:     Signed Acknowledgement

1) Regarding the above subject, we the villagers, the travellers and the workers have never been ordered to give or sell things to the Heavy Weapons Support Company of No. 14 Infantry since they assumed their duties on 19-12-93.

2) We sign that they really have not taken any money from villagers.

[Thumbprint]
Head of Village: xxxx
Age: 45
Father's Name: xxxx
Address: xxxx Village
Date: 17-2-94

 

3) I sign in the presence of the following witnesses.

[Thumbprint]
Name xxxx
Age 60
Father's Name xxxx
Addressxxxx village
Date 17-2-94 

[Thumbprint]

Name: xxxx

Age: 42

Father's Name: xxxx

Address: xxxx village

Date: 17-2-94

[Note: If you have read the other orders in this report, it should hardly be necessary to add that this order was signed at gunpoint.  Even so, these three villagers managed to send all of us a message of their feelings about SLORC through an act of extreme courage: the village head signed her name "Mrs. Erection" and her father's name as "Grandfather Incapable". The witnesses signed their names "Mrs. Mother Dog" and "Mrs. Pa'oh". They got away with it because the SLORC officers cannot read Karen. Despite all the SLORC's terrorism, despite all their suffering and destitution and at great risk to their lives, with just a few joke names these three women have sent a message to us all that they will never give in to SLORC.]