STRENGTHENING THE GRIP ON DOOPLAYA: Developments in the SPDC Occupation of Dooplaya District

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STRENGTHENING THE GRIP ON DOOPLAYA: Developments in the SPDC Occupation of Dooplaya District

Published date:
Wednesday, June 10, 1998

Upon occupying most of the villages in the region, SLORC officers began calling villagers who had fled to come back to their villages, promising peace and freedom from harrassment. When the villagers returned, many village elders and community leaders were immediately arrested and tortured while the SLORC officers demanded that they hand over weapons. Most did not even know the location of any weapons, but they were forced to try to obtain some anyway so that the SLORC units could report that they had captured weapons in battle. At the same time, most villagers found their movements severely restricted. They needed passes to leave the village and in most areas were only allowed to do so from sunrise to sunset, which made it very difficult for them to farm if their fields were far from the village. The troops immediately began looting the houses and fields of villagers who had fled without returning, and after this had been done they began stealing livestock and possessions and demanding money from the villagers who had returned. At first villagers were not used for much forced labour in hopes that more of them would come back, but as new Army camps were established the troops began using them more and more. Currently, most villages in the region face constant demands for porters to carry supplies and ammunition for SPDC patrols, and also have to do rotating shifts of forced labour building and maintaining Army camps and as servants at those camps.