SLORC ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 95-A YE-TAVOY RAILWAY, OTHER LABOUR, & EXTORTION

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SLORC ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 95-A YE-TAVOY RAILWAY, OTHER LABOUR, & EXTORTION

Published date:
Thursday, January 5, 1995

Following are the direct translations of SLORC written orders received by Karen villages in Mon regions in southern Burma/Myanmar, and Karen areas, primarily in Myawaddy-Kawkareik region east of Moulemein, and Thaton District further north in Karen State. Copies of these orders which have been obtained by the Karen Human Rights Group. All of the orders were signed by SLORC officers or officials, and in most cases were stamped with the unit stamp. 

An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group
January 5, 1995 / KHRG # 95-01

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 or officials, 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 army camps have been blanked out and denoted by ‘xxxx’ to protect the villagers.

Some of the orders merely summon village leader to "meetings", but these are included to show that villages are constantly inundated with demands and summonses. Dozens more similar orders have been omitted. The "meetings" are almost always to demand extortion payments or assign slave labour duties. The orders use the phrases "government servants" in reference to forcibly conscripted civilian munitions porters, and "government servant salaries" for what the villagers call "porter fees". None of this money is given to porters. Sometimes some of the rice extorted as "government servants’ rations" may be used to feed porters, but they usually have to bring along their own food. Many of the orders end with phrases like "Should you fail to obey it will be your responsibility". This means that should the village elders fail to comply for any reason they may be arrested and tortured, or SLORC may send troops to loot the village, destroy some houses, seize porters, or shell the village with mortars. Thousands of such orders are issued, many are lost, and many villagers are afraid to entrust them to others. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the courageous villagers who were willing to provide us with this powerful evidence of SLORC oppression.

Notes: While SLORC stands for State Law & Order Restoration Council, Township LORC refers to the Township level SLORC administration. All numeric dates in this report are in dd-mm-yy format. Orders #1 and #2 come from Mon regions in southern Burma. The others come from Karen areas, primarily the Myawaddy-Kawkareik region east of Moulemein, except Order #3, which comes from Thaton District further north in Karen State.

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Orders 1 and 2 were obtained courtesy of the Committee for Publicity of People’s Struggle in Monland (CPPSM).

Order #1 relates to the Ye-Tavoy railway between southern Mon State and Tenasserim Division. For information on working conditions on the railway, which include beating, killings, forced labour of children and pregnant women, starvation, sickness and extortion, see "The Ye- Tavoy Railway", KHRG 13/4/94, and related reports by other groups. An article in SLORC’s "New Light of Myanmar" newspaper on 15/9/94 paraphrased Mon State LORC Chairman Maj.-Gen. Ket Sein as saying "that labour contribution camps were all equipped with medical and welfare facilities and amenities like TV shows and video shows. Work that was to be completed in a month’s time was therefore completed in reality in a fortnight. Those who had contributed labour were reluctant to go home even after completion of the work. Even then, some malicious and divisive foreign media and radio stations have been talking about ‘forced labour’." We leave it to the reader to judge whether or not the following order is for ‘forced labour’. Note that the 11,850 labourers demanded are all supposed to arrive for work the very next day after the issue of the order.

Order #1

SECRET

 

                                                                                                                    State Law & Order Restoration Council                                                                                                                     Ye Township – Ye Town                                                                                                                      Ref. No. 100/2 – 10/ Ma Ta Wa (Ye)

                                                                                                                 Date: 1994 November 6        

To:

       Chairman
        Town Section/Village Tract Law & Order Restoration Councils
        Ye Township

Subject: Preparation of Railway and Railway Embankment by Civilians

1) Starting in 1993-94, responsibility for the Ye-Tavoy railway project has been taken by Ye Township civilians. They have been actively involved in working on this project, so although this project is not yet 100% finished it is already over 90 % finished.

2) Now rainy season is over and it is the start of the cold season. Of the sections of railway that were worked on by each village and town section last year, some were not finished yet and some of those which were finished were destroyed by the rainy season, so this year must all be repaired and rebuilt with civilian labour. Orders have come from higher authorities to start this work on November 7,1994.

3) Therefore the civilians in your village or your town section must take all required tools, one week’s rations and all required pots and dishes together with them. The person responsible for the town section or village must go along with them to inspect the work. They must arrive at their work the evening of November 7, 1994, in accordance with the list below, without fail.

SECRET
----[end of page 1 of the original order]----
SECRET
2


A) Workplace #1 (Chaung Taung camp)
    1) Nit Kayin village
    2) Kaw Dut village
    3) Hla Mine village
    4) Chaung Taung village

Civilians
"
"
"

(500)
(500)
(500)
(500)

 

Total

(2000)

B) Workplace #2 (Kalaw camp)
    1) Han Ngan village
    2) Kalaw Gyi village
    3) Noh Kaneh village
    4) Taung Done village
    5) Aru Taung village
    6) Thaung Pyin village
    7) Thingan Kyun village
    8) Ong Tin village
    9) Ah Boh village

Civilians
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"

(500)
(500)
(500)
(500)
(300)
(500)
(300)
(300)
(300)

 

Total

(3700)

C) Workplace #3 (Ko Mine camp)
    1) Zee Pyu Thaung village
    2) Ain Sein village
    3) Ko Mine village
    4) Kalaw Ko village
    5) Du Myaun village
    6) Du Ya village
    7) Kaw Line village
    8) Thi Reet Ma La section

Civilians
"
"
"
"
"
"
"

(500)
(500)
(150)
(300)
(200)
(500)
(500)
(300)

SECRET
-----[end of page 2 of the original order]-----
SECRET
3

    9) Thi Reet Nan Da section
    10) Thi Ke Ta section
    11) Thi Reet Zay Ya section
    12) Yan Gyi Aung section
    13) Yan Myo Aung section
    14) Aung Minga La section
    15) Aung Thu Ka section
    16) Aung Myitta section

Civilians
"
"
"
"
"
"
"

(500)
(300)
(300)
(500)
(500)
(500)
(300)
(300)

  Total

(6150)

  Grand Total (11,850)


4) Civilians from villages north of Ye will be sent by special train, so the person responsible for each village or town sections should contact the responsible person at the [train] station.

5) To get to Kalaw camp from Ye Town and Chaung Taung, we will arrange it by boat from the beach at Chaung Taung. To get to Ko Mine camp, this has already been arranged by car from the Ye Township Office of Transportation.

                                                                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                                                                        Chairman
                                                                                                                (U Soe Win, PA/ 2141)
Copies to:
                Chairman, District Law and Order Restoration Council
                Commanders of Battalions 343, 61, & 106, Ye Township
                Group Leaders and all Group Committee Members (you should contact your work
                                                                        area leader and medical clinic on 7-11-94)
                Office Copy

SECRET

============================================================

Order #2

                Stamp:                                                                                 Frontline #410 Light Infantry Battalion
No. 410 Light Infantry Battalion                                                               Letter No. 100/1/U3
       Column 1 Headquarters                                                                    Date: 1994 November 12
            To:
                    Chairman
                    Village Law & Order Restoration Council Group
                    xxxx villlage
Subject:        Issuance of orders for the region

 

1) Villagers who stay in this area must obey the following regional orders as issued:

a) If and when they meet the Tatmadaw column they must not run away. They must sit down [stay] right where they are.      If they run they will be identified as enemies and will be shot and arrested.
b) Those who are found giving news or sending messages for insurgents will be treated with the most violent action.
c) There must be no contact or travel between one village and another in the nighttime.
d) Each man cannot store more than one meal at his hill farm or garden. If it [more food] is found, it will be seized and      destroyed.
e) Only one caretaker can stay at each farm. If more than one is found, they will be regarded as insurgents and action will      be taken.
f) At each farm there must be a wood fire for the whole night.

2) The village haedmen must inform all their villagers about this, and tell them to live exactly in conformance with it.

3) You are infomed that if anyone fails to follow this regional order, the Tatmadaw will take violent action.

Think Correctly                                                                                                         [Sd. illegible]
Know Correctly                                                                                         (for) Temporary Battalion Commander
Do Correctly                                                                                                     #410 Light Infantry Battalion

[Notes: The "Tatmadaw" is the SLORC Army. The pupose of restricting food which can be kept at farms is intended to keep villagers from taking food from their villages to give to opposition forces. Both this and the restriction to one person at each farm make it almost impossible for villagers to farm properly, because there fields are often far from the village and their farming technigues are labour-intensive with only simple tools, requiring the whole family.]

============================================================

Order #3

                                                                                                                No. 3 Strategic Command
                                                                                                                Southwest Command Headquarters
                                                                                                                Win Ta Pat Post
                                                                                                                Letter No. 26/2/Y2
                                                                                                                Date: 1994 December 28
To:        Chairman, xxxx village
Subject: To pay compensation for the truck that was landmined

1) On December 22, 1994 at 5:45 in the evening a civilian 5-ton truck, registration number 1/1473, which was the responsibility of Ye Aye village, was mined and exploded near Kah May village. Rations and supplies were lost.

2) Therefore Ye Aye village, which is responsible, must pay half of the cost, 50,000 Kyat. When the truck was mined, the other villages did not prevent the enemy from laying the mine and they did not inform us, so they also have to pay compensation to Win Ta Pat Post by January 15,1995, as follows:


a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
g)
h)
i)
j)
k)
l)
m)
n)
o)
p)
q)
r)
s)

Ye Aye village
Myint Kyo village
Thu Ka Bee village
Lay Kay village
Win Ta village
Ka May village
Ha Te Leit village
Pa Yit Ko village
Nay Min Aung village
Taline Kayin village
Noh Ka Deh village
Goh Ko village
Noh Aw Lah village
Tee Kyuh village
Meh Tha Na village
Tee Kyaw village
Da Thu Kee village
Kyaun Sein village
Palan Taung village

50,000
3,600
1,400
53,000
3,600
1,100
1,300
800
4,500
2,700
600
400
5,400
600
900
800
1,000
3,800
4,500

Kyat
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"


3) Each village must pay by the date specified, and if they fail their belongings will be seized equal in value to the amount due.

4) You are hereby informed that in the future, if the enemy comes and lays mines and a mine explosion occurs, the village concerned [meaning the nearest village or that which has been ordered to do sentry duty] must pay 50,000 Kyat and all other villages must pay proportionate compensation for failing to inform.

                                                                                            (on behalf of ) Temporary Strategic Commander
Copies to:
            Frontline # 38 Infantry Battalion                                         The person responsible must pay this money
            Frontline # 51 Infantry Battalion                                                                 strictly on time.

[Note: The 19 villages listed have been ordered to pay a total of 140,000 Kyat, despite the fact that the order says 50,000 is "half the cost". The amounts have been calculated based on village size, not on the value of the goods lost, apparently using a formula of 50 to 100 Kyat per household. The money is not a compensation, it is a punishment - part of SLORC’s insurgency strategy of retaliations against civilians. The truck which was destroyed was not a "civilian" truck, but either a military truck or a private truck which the military had stolen for its use. Ye Aye village is considered "responsible" because they had probably been order to do forced labour as 24-hour sentries along this portion of the road. This order was sent to every village on the list.]

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Order #4

            Stamp:                                                                         Township Law & Order Restoration Council
Exactly, Correctly, & Quickly                                                       Kya In Seik Gyi Town
                                                                                               Ref. No. 121/1-1/Ma Wa Ta (KISG)
        To:                                                                                   Date: 1994 October 7
                Village Head
                xxxx village
                Kya In Seik Gyi Township
Subject:    To give money for the Dah Li bridge which was burned and destroyed

1) Regarding the above subject, we have already sent a message to you to give money for the cost of Dah Li bridge, which was burned and destroyed, but up until now you have not come and paid it.

2) Therefore, you have a duty to pay   5700  Kyat,   Five Thousand seven hundread Kyat  exactly, on or before the deadline of 21-10-94. Come to the Township LORC office without fail. If you fail, your headman will be held responsible.

                                                                                                                    [Sd. illegible, 7/10/94]
                                                                                                                    (for) Chairman
                                                                                                                    Soe Ee Noe, Secretary
Copies to: Battalion Commander # 32 Infantry Battalion, Kya In Seik Gyi
                Office Copy

============================================================

Order #5

                Stamp:                                                                          Township Law & Order Restoration Council
Exactly, Correctly, & Quickly                                                            Kya In Seik Gyi Town
                                                                                                    Ref. No. 110/1- 1/Ma Wa Ta (KING)
        To:                                                                                        Date: 1994 October 7
                Head of village
                xxxx and yyyy village
                Kya In Seik Gyi Township
Subject:    Invitation to a meeting

On 11-10-94, Tuesday, at 9 a m. we will have a meeting about construction of the Kya In Seik Gyi Shwe Lin - Than Pa Ya- Kyaun Ne Kwa car road at the Township LORC office meeting hall. Come and attend the meeting without fail.

                                                                                                                            [Sd. illegible, 7/10/94]
                                                                                                                            (for) Chairman
                                                                                                                            Soe Ee Noe, Secretary
Copies to: Battalion Commander, #32 Infantry Battalion., Kya In Seik Gyi
                Township Engineer, Public Construcation, Kya In Seik Gyi
                Office Copy.

[Note: The above order (#5) is about a meeting to assign slave labour duties to each village in the area, not to discuss the project. Village representatives will probably not even be given a chance to speak.]

============================================================

Order #6

        Stamp:                                                                                             #3 Strategic Command (Base)
# 3 Strategic Command (Base)                                                                     Thingan Nyi Naung
    (Thingan Nyi Naung)                                                                                Ref. No. 1000/03/U1
   Command Department                                                                              Date: 1994 October 7

To: Chairman
        xxxx village

Subject: To move xxxx village

Regarding the above subject, terrorists go in and out of xxxx village, so you must move to yyyy village. We have already given you orders but up until now you have not moved, so on what date will you be finished the move? Send a reply.

                                                                                                                            [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                        (for) Temporary Strategic Commander

============================================================

Order #7

                Stamp:                                                                                     Township Law & Order Restoration Council
Exactly, Correctly, & Quickly                                                                       Kya In Seik Gyi Town
                                                                                                               Ref. No. 337/3/-3 /Ma Wa Ta (KISG)
To:                                                                                                            Date: 1994 September 22
        xxxx [village]

Subject: Invitation

Regarding the above subject, we will have a meeting on 26-9-94 at 10 a.m about the 1994/95 collection of paddy and distribution of rice at the Township LORC office. Therefore, you must come without fail.

                                                                                                                [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                                Chairman
Copies to: Office Copy

[Note: This will be a meeting about SLORC’s confiscation of the annual rice quota. "Distribution of rice" does not mean that SLORC will give out rice, it means dictating which battalions and/or offices the villagers are to deliver their rice to.]

============================================================

Order #8

        Stamp:                                                                                              30-9-94
#32 Infantry Battalion                                 To:
      #3 Company                                                 Chairman/Secretary
        30-9-94                                                      xxxx village

Subject: To give.

Regarding the above subject, your village must pay servants’ fees (money) and servants’ rations (rice) on 2-10-94 at 10 a.m. precisely. Come and pay it at yyyy village without fail (without fail).

If you fail you will be held responsible.
                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible, 30/9]
                                                                                                        Company Commander
                                                                                                        #3 Company

============================================================

Order #9

        Stamp:                                                                                                                             4-10-94
#32 Infantry Battalion                             To:
    #3 Company                                                 Chairman/Secretary
        4-10-94                                                    xxxx village

Subject: To meet

Regarding the above subject, the village perimeter sentries must meet on 6-10-94 at 10 a.m. precisely at yyyy village without fail. At the same time, bring along the servants’ fees and servants’ rations.

If you fail you will be held responsible, we here by inform you again.

                                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible, 4/10]
                                                                                                                        Company Commander
                                                                                                                        #3 Company

["Village perimeter sentries" are villagers ordered to do forced labour by night standing sentry outside the village; they must report any movement they see, or they will be arrested and tortured]

============================================================

Order #10

            Stamp:                                                                                                 4-10-94
# 32 Infantry Battalion                                 To:
      # 3 Company                                                 Chairman/Secretary
                                                                        xxxx village

Subject: To meet.

Regarding the above subject, we already sent you a message to come and meet us but you didn’t come. Therefore, on 7-10-94 at 10 a.m. exactly, come to yyyy without fail (without fail). Come and bring the servant’s fees and servants’ rations (rice) along with you, we here by notify you again.

                                                                                                                [Sd. illegible, 4/10]
                                                                                                                Company Commander
                                                                                                                #3 Company

============================================================

Order #11

        Stamp:                                                                                       10-10-94                                  

10-10-94 #32 Infantry Battalion                             To:     

#3 Company                                             Chairman/Secretary                                                       

                                                                 xxxx village                              

Subject:     To meet.

Regarding the above subject, we will have a meeting about village security, servants’ fee (money) and servants’ rations (rice), so on 11-10-94 at 10 a.m. precisely come to yyyy village without fail (without fail)

If you fail to come the chairman and secretary will bear the main responsibility.

                                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible, 10/10]
                                                                                                                        Company Commander
                                                                                                                        #3 Company

============================================================

Order #12

        Stamp:#32 Infantry Battalion              To:                       22-10-94

 

 

#3 Company                                               Chairman/Secretary    

 

Ref # 1, 22-10-94                                          xxxx village

                                                                                                                                                                             

Subject: Prepare to collect and send.

Regarding the above subject, your village has to give servants’ fees and servants’ ration rice. Prepare and send it on 1-11-94 at 10 a.m. precisely to yyyy village, without fail.

If you fail to come the chairman and secretary will be held responsible, we hereby inform you again.

                                                                                                                            [Sd. illegible, 22/10]
                                                                                                                            Company Commander
                                                                                                                            #3 Company

============================================================

Order #13

            Stamp:                                                                                                                         24-10-94
#32 Infantry Battalion                             To:                                                                                                          

#3 Company                                          Chairman/ Secretary 

  24-1- 94                                               xxxx village

Subject: To come and meet.

Regarding the above subject, as soon as you receive this letter come to yyyy. We have to discuss security. Bring along the servants’ rations (rice) and the servants’ fee (money) and come to yyyy village without fail (without fail).

If you fail to come you will be held responsible.

                                                                                                                            [Sd. illegible, 24/10]
                                                                                                                            Company Commander
                                                                                                                            #3 Company

============================================================

Order #14

        Stamp:                                                                                                                             25-10-94
#32 Infantry Battalion                             To:
    #3 Company                                              Chairman/Secretary
      25-10-94                                                 xxxx village

Subject: Come and meet.

Regarding the above subject, Chairman and Secretary, come yourselves to meet me along with the messenger of this letter to yyyy village without fail (without fail).

If you fail you will be held responsible.

Bring a chicken/duck weighing 2 viss along with you (we will pay the cost in money).

                                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible, 25/10]
                                                                                                                        Company Commander
                                                                                                                        #3 Company

[Note: After attending the meeting, the village headman was upset and wrote the following note on the bottom of this written order: "At one o’clock the headman took a duck but they didn’t give him any money."]

============================================================

Order #15

            Stamp:
#32 Infantry Battalion                     To:                                                                                         29-10-94

        #3 Company                                 Chairman/Secretary
          29-10-94                                    xxxx village

Subject: Come and meet

Regarding the above subject, on 1-11-94 at 8 a.m. precisely we have to discuss your village security. Come to yyyy village without fail (without fail).

If you fail to come you will be held responsible. Along with you bring the servants’ rations (rice) and servants’ fees (money), we hearby notify you again.

                                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                                        Company Commander
                                                                                                                        #3 Company

["Discussing village security" means issuing orders assigning forced labour as village sentries.]

============================================================

Order #16

        Stamp:                                                                                                                                 2-11-95
#32 Infantry Battalion                           To:
      #3 Company                                         Chairman/Secretary
         2-11-94                                             xxxx village

Subject: To give

Regarding the above subject, your village must come and give the servants’ fees and rice on 4-11-94 at 10 a.m. precisely. Come and give it at yyyy village without fail.

If you fail to come the chairman and secretary will be held responsible, we herby inform you again.

                                                                                                                    [Sd. illegible, 4/11]
                                                                                                                    Company Commander
                                                                                                                    #3 Company

============================================================

Order #17

        Stamp:                                               To:                                                                             4-11-94                       

 

#32 Infantry Battalion                                  Chairman/Secretary  

 

#3 Company                                                 xxxx village

 

4-11-94

                                                

Subject: To give.

Regarding the above subject, your village must come and give the servants’ fees and rice as soon as you receive this letter, thie ievening. Come and give it at yyyy village without fail.

If you fail to come the chairman and secretary will be held responsible, we hereby inform you again.

                                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible, 4/11]
                                                                                                                        Company Commander

                                                                                                                        #3 Company

============================================================

Order #18

        Stamp:                                                                                                                                 5-9-94
# 32 Infantry Battalon
    # 3 Company                                                                CASH RECEIPT

Received from xxxx village chairman Mr. xxxx, 1,500 Kyat for servants’ fees and 11 pyi [about 22 kg.] of rice for servants’ rations, on 5-9-94 at 12 a.m in yyyy village.

Rice and money given by:   Mr. xxxx                        Received by
Chairman:                         xxxx village                         [Sd.]
Place:                                yyyy village                   Corporal Tay Oo
Date:                                 5-9-94                           Place: yyyy village
                                                                           Date: 5-9-94
                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                                           (for) Company Commander
                                                                           #3 Company

============================================================

Order #19

        Stamp:                                                                                                                         6-8-94
#32 Infantry Battalion                                                 CASH RECEIPT
      #3 Company                                               To:     Chairman, Secretary
                                                                              xxxx village

From Mr. xxxx, received 3,000 Kyat for servants’ fees and 11 pyi of rice for servants’ rations, at yyyy village.

        Received.
        Given by:                                                                                                 [Sd. illegible, 6/8]
                    Chairman Mr. xxxx                                                                         Company Commander
                    Monastery: yyyy monastery                                                             #3 Company

============================================================

Order #20

        Stamp:                                                                                                                                 26-7-94
#32 Infantry Battalion                             To:
#3 Company                                                     Chairman/Secretary
                                                                      xxxx village

Subject: To come and meet.

Regarding the above subject, tomorrow on 27-7-94 at 12 a.m. precisely we have to discuss important security matters. Come to yyyy village (without fail). Without fail, come and meet. If you fail, you will be held responsible. Come and bring along the servants’ fees with you.

                                                                                                                    [Sd. illegible, 26/7]
                                                                                                                    Company Commander
                                                                                                                    #3 Company

============================================================

Order #21

        Stamp:                                                                                                    

 

#3 Strategic Command (Base)                                                             #3 Strategic Command (Base)  

 

(Thingan Nyi Naung)                                                                           Thingan Nyi Naung

 

Adjutant/Supply Department                                                                Ref. No. 2002/2/Supply 2 

                                                                                                           Date: 1994 March 6                                                                                                                                         

To:   Chairman
        xxxx village

Subject: To send bullock carts with 7 days of rations

Regarding the above subject, send 15 bullock carts from your village together with 7 days of rations to arrive at 5 p.m. on 7-3-94 to #3 Strategic Command base.

                                                                                                                        [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                        (for) Temporary Strategic Commander

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Order #22

To:                                                                                                                                     Date: 19-5-94
            Chairman - xxxx village

I’ve received 150 bamboos sent from your village but they’re not enough to prepare our camp. Send another 200 bamboos urgently. This is very important, so send them within 2 days.

                                                                                                                    [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                                    Sergeant Hla Oo
                                                                                                                    xxxx Camp

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Order #23

                Stamp:                                                                                                             Date: 4-12-93
Frontline # 22 Light Infantry Battalion
            Headquarters
                                                To:     Chairman
                                                         xxxx village

Subject: To collect servants

For emergency use, we need 5 persons as servants. The chairman himself must bring them to Nyi Naung frontline headquarters on 5-12-93.

                                                                                                                    [Sd. illegible]
                                                                                                Commanding Officer (2nd in command)

 

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