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Published date:
Wednesday, August 10, 1994

On 23 June 1994 troops from SLORC #73 Light Infantry Battalion went through villages in Mone Township demanding 8 people from each village as forced conscripts for the Army. Villages which were unable or unwilling to provide the conscripts were forced to pay 3,000 Kyat for each conscript they did not provide.

An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group

The following reports have recently been sent in by human rights monitors operating independently inside Karen areas. A few of the incidents were reported in radio messages from Karen frontline military units, and these are noted as such. Note that these field reports are not even close to a complete summary of all the killings and looting being done by SLORC troops -for every field report which is sent in, there are a hundred similar incidents which are not being reported

Mone Township, Nyaunglebin District

The following incidents were reported by civilian Karen human rights monitors in the area

On 23 June 1994 troops from SLORC #73 Light Infantry Battalion went through villages in Mone Township demanding 8 people from each village as forced conscripts for the Army. Villages which were unable or unwilling to provide the conscripts were forced to pay 3,000 Kyat for each conscript they did not provide.

On 3 July 1994, SLORC #73 Light Infantry Battalion's commanding officer Saw Win Naing arrested villagers Maung Htwe and Ko Thein and beat them severely.

On 5 July 1994 troops from SLORC #73 and #26 Light Infantry Battalions burned down the farm hut of Saw Baw from Da Kaw Bwa village, and stole everything they found there.

Thaton District

The following incidents were reported in radio messages from frontline Karen military units.

On 8 June 1994 SLORC troops commanded by Aung Tun from #4 Company of #34 Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) came to Naw K'Toh Village, shot and killed Dee Pa Leh's cow and ate all of it. They then beat the owner once and his son 3 times with a stick, and then they scathed his son with a gunshot.

On 10 May 1994 troops from SLORC #76 LIB came to Kaw Kyer Ther village, arrested villagers Kyaw Soe Pyu (age 32) and Saw Ganoo (age 35) and killed them both.

On 28 April 1994 troops from SLORC #96 LIB came to Paw Ghee Khee village and shot to death villager Pa Kloh, age 26 (father's name Thaw Pee). They also shot and wounded Saw Ger Ker, age 20, who was wounded in the arm and also suffered a broken leg.

Toungoo District

The following Incident was reported in radio messages from frontline Karen military units.

On 31 May 1994 a group of soldiers from #2 Column of #39 LIB came to Ta Pah Kee village. There they met Saw Potha Dah, who is headman of Mah Lah Ko village, and a friend, and looted 250,000 Kyat in cash from them. They took Potha Dah, his wife, a church deacon, and Ta Pah Kee village headman Saw Pa Aye along withthem as captives to their camp, where Saw Pa Aye was tortured seriously while the troops demanded another 250,000 Kyat. The report did not specify whether or not any of this money was paid before they were released.

Kya In Seik Gyi Township, Dooplaya District

The following incidents were reported in radio messages from frontline Karen military units.

On 21 February 1994 Capt. Myo Lwin Thet Lwin led #5 Company of #32 LIB to Taree Hta Gaun village and burned down and destroyed the houses of 4 villagers: Moo Pu Kyaw, who lost his rice barn, 120 tins of paddy, his betelnut crop, and cash and belongings worth an estimated 300,000 Kyat; U Talay Heh, who lost his rice barn, 160 tins of paddy, his stored betelnut and pepper, 15,000 Kyat cash and 200,000 Kyat worth of belongings, and whose 2 pepper plantations were also burned; Ah Pu, who lost 80 tins of paddy and belongings worth over 37,000 Kyat; and Naw Paw Ser, who lost her rice barn, 260 tins of paddy, her betelnut crop and over 500,000 Kyat worth of belongings.

Lu Thaw Township, Papun (Mudraw) District

The murder of Saw Ghay in Paw Muh Der village, Mudraw District was previously reported in ‘Incoming Field Reports' (KHRG 29/4/94). More detailed information has since become available from Paw Muh Der villagers and a SLORC soldier from the camp, including the detail that it was 59 Infantry Battalion who did it, not 35 Infantry Battalion as previously reported.

Paw Muh Der village is in an area of steep high hills and thick forest. It has only 24 houses, 143 people, all simple farmers. It is only one hour's walk from the Say Day camp of SLORC #59 Infantry Battalion (IB). On 3 March 1994, Column #2 of #59 IB came to the village led by their Column Commander Maj. Aung San Oo. As soon as the villagers knew they were there they tried to escape to the forest, without being able to take anything with them. The SLORC troops captured the 20 people who couldn't escape, mainly women and children, including Saw Ghay (male, age 35) and his 3-year old daughter. Saw Ghay's wife was very sick but still managed to escape with their other child, an 18-month old son. Saw Ghay's sister-in-law was hiding in another house, and saw the soldiers drag Saw Ghay away from the others. Then the soldiers went and looted every house. They stayed in the village 2 days and then released everyone except Saw Ghay and went back to their camp. After they left, Saw Ghay's father-in-law came back from the forest, and when he didn't see any soldiers all the villagers returned. They discovered that everything they owned had been stolen, and that whatever the soldiers couldn't carry away with them they had destroyed. Outside the village they found Saw Ghay's dead body. His stomach had been cut open, he had been stabbed in the chest and neck and his penis was cut off. All the villagers went to see, and then they buried the body. After the SLORC troops returned to their camp they reported to the higher authorities that they had taken a Karen position in battle captured and executed a Karen soldier, and that the property they’d collected was from the Karen base [this was reported to the villagers by one of the soldiers; also note that Saw Ghay was not a Karen soldier]. Now the villagers don’t dare stay in Paw Muh Der village anymore, so they've moved to another place where there is no good place to plant crops to survive. They're very afraid of their future.

The following incidents were reported in radio messages from frontline Karen military units.

On 10 March 1994 SLORC #2 Company of #59 LIB, commander Aung San Oo (see incident report above) came to Thay Baw Village and shot and killed villager Saw Soe Ghay Htoo, age 35, father's name Saw K'Bweh. After shooting him, they stabbed his body all over with a knife and then left it behind. Then on 18 March 1994 the same troops went to Thu Day village and shot dead villager Saw Ko Pa Moo, age 30, father's name Saw Plah Heh. Just as they had done in Thay Baw village, they then stabbed his body all over with a knife before leaving it there.

Kyauk Kyi Township, Nyaunglebin District

The following incident was reported by civilian Karen human rights monitors in the area.

In November 1993 Saw Eh Mwee (not his real name) of Po Lo No Po Village (called Kyun Gone village by the Burmese) in Kyauk Kyi Township was a trader, and he had driven some cattle to an area controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU) and done some trading there. The SLORC learned of this and accused him of being connected to the KNU. They tried to capture him but he had already fled to avoid them.

Officer Bo Win Oo of SLORC Infantry Battalion #60 then sent an order via the village headman calling Saw Eh Mwee's wife, Naw Ray Say (not her real name), to come to the camp. When she arrived he interrogated her about the whereabouts of her husband, and forced her to give him 1,500 Kyat and 2 ducks. He then released her on her sworn bond not to run away.

Two months later, on 12 January1994 at about 7 p.m. during the Karen New Year celebrations, troops from Infantry Battalion #60 came to the village and surrounded Naw Ray Say's house. They tied up her and her father at gunpoint and dragged them outside, where she was tied to a mango tree and surrounded by 5 soldiers. They interrogated her about her husband and threatened her all night. The next day they released her father but took her to In Net village, then the following day to the Military Intelligence office at Kyauk Kyi, where she was finally untied. They made her stay there and cook for them for 2 days. They asked her about her husband and she told them she didn't know where he was and that he wasn't a rebel. After 2 days they took her to #60 Infantry Battalion camp and put her under guard. She says that while there, she saw about 30 other villagers from around her village also being held prisoner, but that she did not know why. The next day she was released after signing a bond.

On arriving home, she learned that her relatives had to pay 6,600 Kyat and 3 bags of rice for her release. She also found that while she had been gone the soldiers had destroyed her house and driven her relatives out of the village. She and her children fled the village and lived in temporary huts in the forest and after 5 days of this they held a traditional ceremony to try to rid their lives of bad influences. They then went to live in B--- village to escape any further mistreatment by SLORC. Most of her relatives moved to other villages as well.

Kyauk Kyi Township, Nyaunglebin District

The following story was told by U Maung Win (not his real name), a 54-year old Burman Buddhist farmer from Zee Gone village in Kyauk Kyi Township, with wife and 7 children aged 14 to 27:

"I, U Maung Win [name changed], and my family of 9 people had lived and worked peacefully as farmers in Zee Gone village, Kyauk Kyi Township since 1939. But my son Maung Thein Soe [name changed], his heart full of revolution, joined the Karen National Liberation Army and is serving in their No. 3 Brigade. On April 27, 1993 a battle broke out between my son's company and Burma Army's Company No. 2 of Light Infantry Battalion No. 48 in the farm fields of Dike Pone village. My son dropped his national ID card at the battle site.

Captain Aung Kyaw, commander of Company No. 2, LIB No. 48 got his ID card and found out the names of his parents. He then alleged that we are an 'insurgent household'. Realizing our danger in advance, we went into hiding. While we were in hiding Captain Aung Kyaw came to our house and forcefully stole my bicycle, 4 aluminum pots, 4 new blankets, 2 new longyis, 9 steel spoons, one cleaver knife, 2 chickens and one tiger-head brand flashlight. He also made a threat that 'This family won't have it easy if I find them'. In fear of what he would do to us, our family fled to the liberated area controlled by No. 3 Brigade of the Karen National Liberation Army and we are now living as refugees. To certify that the above story is true. I hereby sign my name below."

                                                                                                 Signed U Maung Win [name changed]

Nyaunglebin District

The following people arrived in the Karen-controlled territory of eastern Nyaunglebin District in December 1993. While these stories may seem like ‘old news’ to some, they certainly aren't to the people who experienced them. They are included in this report because they, have only recently been sent in, and because they are reflections of identical experiences which are happening to others right now, and which we will no doubt be reporting later.

U Thein HIa (not his real name), age 62 with 3 children, a Burman Buddhist farmer from Kyaik Mayaw Township near Moulmein, was at the movies with his son when he was captured along with 18 others. SLORC troops took them from the village on full moon day in October 1993 and sent them to Martaban, where they were put on a train to Pegu. They were kept there for 2 nights, then sent to Kyauk Kyi by truck. They slept there one night, then set out for the hills with 100 porters and 100 SLORC soldiers. Two days later they reached the frontline area at Kyo Tadah camp, where they were kept for one month. 100 porters were given 10 small army cookpots of rice per day. They were always hungry. They had to work carrying rocks every day, and while working they were tied together with rope in groups of four. They also had to carry 2 tins of rice at a time as porters, and any who couldn't carry it were beaten with sticks or gun butts, kicked in the stomach with army boots and punched in the head. Some died and some escaped, and after 1 month there were only 50 porters left. Then the guards on duty one day allowed U Thein Hla and 5 others to escape, each going their own way. He was alone in the forest on the run for 2 days before meeting 2 Karen soldiers who took him to their camp.

Three escaped porters arrived at a Karen military camp east of Kyauk Kyi on 16 December 1993: U T---, age 54, a labourer from Ye Da Shi town with 4 children; U H---, age 42, a labourer from Pyu town in Pegu Division, unmarried; and U S--- age 45, a labourer with 7 children from Htan Ta Bin town. U T--- said he was conscripted as a porter by #26 LIB. During his time as a porter Cpl. Than Tun beat him on the head with a rifle butt. After 2 months as a porter the wound had still not healed. U H--- was planting rice in the fields when he was arrested by 459 LIB. They tied his hands, put him on a truck and sent him to Kyauk Kyi town (a distance of 180 km. as the crow flies, and much farther by truck over the rough, roads of the Pegu Hills). There he was handed to 460 LIB and sent to the frontline, where he was a porter for a month before being sent to #30 LIB under Maj. Win Naing, where he continued as a porter. The porters were only given one little milktin of rice per day between 2 people (an average villager eats 3 milktins of rice per day himself). While carrying heavy loads he fainted and collapsed, and a private from #30 LIB kicked him in the face with his army boot and broke three of his front teeth. He was a porter for 56 days and says the loads he had to carry were unbearable. U S--- was walking with his child when he was captured as a porter by #59 LIB. He was handed to #60 LIB and was sent to the frontline in Mu Theh - Byat Kaw area. Later he was handed to Maj. Win Naing of #30 LIB. He was a porter for 57 days, during which he says he was forced to work like a bullock, treated brutally in many ways and given almost nothing to eat. The usual load given to these men was 2 big tins of rice at a time. Eventually they couldn't bear it anymore, ran away and found some Karen soldiers.

Kyaikto Township, Mon State

The following story was told by Maung Aung Toe (not his real name), Karen, age 17, from Kyaikto Township in Mon State:

"I was just living and working peacefully with my parents. Then at 8 a.m. on 19 April 1992 Sub-Lt. Soe Naing from #96 LIB arrived at our house with a unit of soldiers. They claimed that my father, who had just finished his breakfast, had contact with Karen rebels. They tied him up and took him outside the village. I was in bed with malaria. A corporal covered my head with a blanket and told me not to raise my head or look. He then ransacked our house and stole everything, including our gold rings and a gold necklace. My father was beaten to death with a bamboo stick after being interrogated and tortured outside the village. The people who found his body came and told me about it. I ran to where his body was and saw that his brains had spilled out and he had stab wounds on his chest. I went back and told the village elders, and we brought my father's body back and cremated it. My father's name was Maung Ngeh Po. Sub-Lt. Soe Naing said to the villagers, "This is a lesson for you people - if you have any contact with Karen rebels you will suffer the same fate. All of you better keep this in mind." Our village always has to send them 3 porters every week to carry heavy loads for them. Mostly we have to carry their rations and ammunition to their camp at Nat Gyi village. While we’re there the officers always say "Don't say anything - you have to carry loads like this because of your inferior race. If we can't send the porters we have to pay them 300 Kyat per person per week. We couldn’t bear it anymore so my brother and I decided to flee to the liberated areas."