SPDC ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 99-A

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SPDC ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 99-A

Published date:
Wednesday, February 10, 1999

Following are the direct translations of some written orders sent from SPDC Army units and local authorities to Karen villages in Pa’an, Toungoo, Dooplaya and Papun Districts of Karen State, southeastern Burma. They include orders for villages to move, threats that villages helping SPDC Army deserters or contacting resistance groups will be severely punished, demands for villagers to do forced labour as porters, messengers, road labourers, at Army camps and other forms of forced labour, as well as demands for food, building materials, and extortion money. Some are simply a summons for village elders to attend ‘meetings’ at which SPDC Army officers or officials dictate demands for forced labour, money and materials and threaten the village for any failure to comply.

[Some details have been replaced with ‘xxxx’ for Internet distribution. The Internet version of this report does not contain the copies of original orders in Burmese.]

Following are the direct translations of some written orders sent from SPDC Army units and local authorities to Karen villages in Pa’an, Toungoo, Dooplaya and Papun Districts of Karen State, southeastern Burma. They include orders for villages to move, threats that villages helping SPDC Army deserters or contacting resistance groups will be severely punished, demands for villagers to do forced labour as porters, messengers, road labourers, at Army camps and other forms of forced labour, as well as demands for food, building materials, and extortion money. Some are simply a summons for village elders to attend ‘meetings’ at which SPDC Army officers or officials dictate demands for forced labour, money and materials and threaten the village for any failure to comply.

This report does not aim to provide a comprehensive picture of the human rights situation in these areas, but to provide a reference containing examples of several kinds of orders received by villages in several different regions. More information on the human rights situation in each District is available in other existing KHRG reports. Originals of these orders were obtained by KHRG monitors in each region, with the exception of Orders #P1, P15, P16, P19, P20, P69, and P74, which were provided by the Karen Health Workers’ Union of Pa’an District, and Orders #D4, D5, and D6, which were provided by independent monitors in Dooplaya District. For every order reproduced here, hundreds more are issued every week; these should be seen only as a small representative sampling. Most of these orders were handwritten, some typed, and carbon-copied if sent to more than one village. They were issued by local Army commanders and Peace & Development Councils (PDCs), which are local-level SPDC administration at the Township, Village Tract and Village level (before November 1997, under the State Law & Order Restoration Council these were known as LORCs). A village tract is a group of villages making up a subarea of the Township and used as a local administrative unit. While the Township and often Village Tract PDCs consist of SPDC officials under direct military control, the Village PDC chairperson and members are appointed, often against their will, by the local military. They are responsible for providing forced labourers, money, materials, intelligence etc. as demanded by the military and the higher-level PDCs, and they are the first to be arrested and tortured if they fail to do so; this is what is meant by threatening phrases such as "should you fail the responsibility will be yours" and "if you fail we will take no responsibility for your village". Order #P39 below was sent together with a chillie pepper, as an additional threat that if the village headwoman does not obey the troops will kill livestock or loot food from her village. Bullets or pieces of charcoal are occasionally sent with orders to express similar threats.

Orders in this report have been divided by District, and within that by topic. For each District a short summary has been included to explain the context in which the orders were issued. The orders were written in Burmese except where noted otherwise (some of those from DKBA units and those written by village heads were written in Karen). Village names, people’s names and Army camp names have been replaced with ‘xxxx’ or ‘yyyy’ where necessary to protect villages from retaliation. We have attempted to accurately reproduce the visual page layout of each order, and underlining, etc. are as they appear in the order. ‘Stamp:’ gives the translation of the unit stamp affixed to many of the orders, while ‘[Sd.]’ denotes the usually illegible signature of the issuing official. Italic text in square brackets has been added by KHRG for clarification where necessary. Note that Burmese grammar is very different from English, and therefore some of the phraseology sounds awkward because we have tried to reproduce the wording as exactly as possible.

As in the originals, numeric dates are shown in dd/mm/yy format. In Burmese, numerals are usually written in parentheses; in the translations these have been omitted in most cases where they would not be used in English. Many orders call for ‘loh ah pay’, which we have translated literally as ‘voluntary labour’, though it is the term used by the SPDC to call for forced labour. The term ‘wontan’ also appears frequently; we have translated this literally as ‘servant’, and it is used by the SPDC to refer to porters and other forced labourers. Reference is made to "servants’ fees", also known as "porter fees"; these are the routine extortion fees which villagers must pay to all Army battalions in their area. Many orders contain phrases like"if you fail it is your responsibility" or "we will not take any responsibility for your village"; these are threats that village elders will be arrested and detained under torture or houses will be looted and/or burned for failure to comply with the order. Some Battalions in the orders call themselves "Advance" or"Frontline" battalions, indicating that they operate in conflict areas.

Many villages, townships and districts have both Karen and Burmese names; the SPDC orders use the Burmese names, and where there are none they frequently misspell the Karen names. For example, one reference to a military camp at ‘Htee Par Plaw’ should probably read ‘Htee Wah Blaw’. Baw Ga Li Gyi village (often shortened to Baw Ga Li) is Kler Lah in Karen; Yay Tho Gyi is Kaw Thay Der; Toungoo is Taw Oo; Than Daung is Daw Pa Kho; Nabu is T’Nay Hsah.

Copies of the Burmese originals of selected orders are included at the end of the report [these have been omitted from the website version of the report]. The translations of these orders are marked with an asterisk (*) to indicate this. The poor quality of many of the copies is due to the poor quality of paper used by SPDC units and their use of carbon copies. Copies of the full set of Burmese orders in this report are available (with appropriate details blacked out) on approved request from KHRG.

Abbreviations

SPDC        = State Peace & Development Council, military junta ruling Burma
PDC           = Peace & Development Council, SPDC local-level administration
                   (e.g. Village PDC [VPDC], Village Tract PDC, Township PDC [TPDC])
SLORC      = State Law & Order Restoration Council, former name of the SPDC until Nov. 1997
LORC        = Law & Order Restoration Council, SLORC local-level administration
                    (e.g. Village LORC [VLORC], Village Tract LORC, Township LORC [TLORC])
KNU          = Karen National Union, main Karen opposition group
KNLA        = Karen National Liberation Army, army of the KNU
DKBA        = Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, Karen group allied with SLORC/SPDC
IB              = Infantry Battalion (SLORC/SPDC), usually about 500 soldiers fighting strength
LIB            = Light Infantry Battalion (SLORC/SPDC), usually about 500 soldiers fighting strength
Na Pa Ka  = Abbreviation for SPDC’s Western Military Command from Rakhine State
Viss          = Unit of weight measure; one viss is 1.6 kilograms or 3.5 pounds
Pyi            = Volume of rice equal to 8 small condensed milk tins; about 2 kilograms / 4.4 pounds
Kyat          = Burmese currency; US$1=6 Kyat at official rate, 300+ Kyat at current market rate

Pa’an District

Pa’an district forms much of the heartland of central Karen State, but villagers here are finding it very hard to survive because of a steady increase in extortion of cash and materials by all of the SPDC and DKBA troops in the region. In the eastern part of the district, farmers seen in their fields by patrols are frequently grabbed as porters; to avoid this, people who see patrols usually try to run, and then the soldiers shoot them. Many of these troops are fighting the KNLA in the east of the district, and in the process they have started to order the forced relocation of villages. On the eastern side of the Dawna mountains, SPDC troops burned and destroyed Meh Lah Ah, Meh Keh, Tha Pwih Hser, Po Ti Pwa and Noh Aw Pu villages in September 1998, and looted and terrorised several other villages until everyone in the area fled for the hills or for Thailand. In southeastern Pa’an district they told the people of several villages that they were all to be forced to relocate as soon as the harvest was complete in December 1998 or January 1999, and they are now enforcing this by forcing most villagers to move into the centre of their villages. Many Karen farmers have fields far from the central village and live near their fields, or live in small sub-villages loosely connected with the larger village 1 or 2 kilometres away, and these people are the target of such orders. Once forced into the centre of the village, it is hard for many people to properly tend their fields. Much of the 1998-99 rice harvest has already been lost because of orders such as these and because people are fleeing the increased extortion and forced portering.

The orders below were issued in eastern Pa’an District. Many of them call for ‘wontan’ (‘servants’), which usually means porters or Army camp labour, or ‘loh ah pay’ (translated here as ‘voluntary labour’); these are SPDC’s terms for forced labour. The villagers who go are used as porters, messengers, road labourers, and doing Army camp labour such as sentry duty, cleaning, and building and maintaining barracks, fences and booby-traps. Since 1996 the SLORC/SPDC has been building a large network of roads throughout central Pa’an District in order to consolidate military control over the region. All of these roads have been built with forced labour, and villagers continue to be ordered to maintain these roads, most of which are destroyed every rainy season, to clear wide ‘killing grounds’ along both sides of the roads to minimise the chance of landmines or ambushes, and to stand sentry along the roads (see Orders #P6-P8). Village heads are called to ‘meetings’ to ‘discuss the matter of servants’ or to ‘discuss cooperation in security matters’, but at these meetings the Army officer or local Peace & Development Council (PDC) officials simply dictate forced labour assignments and threats for failure to comply. Orders #P17-P20 refer to porters or Army camp forced labourers who have run away or gone home without permission; in this case, the village is charged a fine in food or cash, and the village head is ordered to immediately bring replacements or turn in the villager(s) who fled.

Villagers who own bullock carts are also forced to take a cart and team to haul supplies for SPDC troops (see Order #P22), and elephant owners are ordered to work their elephants to haul logs for the SPDC with no compensation (see Order #P23). Demands for rice, food and building supplies continue to come from both the SPDC and the DKBA, while extortion of money by both the SPDC and the DKBA is increasing so much that it is a major factor causing people to flee their villages. Order #P39, which demands that a village headwoman send food to the local Light Infantry Battalion, was sent with a chillie pepper enclosed; when these are enclosed in orders (sometimes along with a bullet or piece of charcoal) it is a direct threat that the troops will punish the village for failure to obey, possibly by killing all the livestock.

In Pa’an District, villages must send forced labourers and must also pay "servants’ fees", money which is supposedly to pay for the hire of labourers. However, this money only goes to the Army officers and officials. The only time labourers are hired is when villagers pay others to go for forced labour in their place. Most villagers cannot afford to pay any of these fees anymore. Orders #P56-P59 summon village heads to meetings to ‘discuss’ the paddy from their villages. These meetings are to assign paddy quotas which villages must hand over to the Army for free or for 10% of market price, even in bad crop years like this one.

In Order #P3, village heads are ordered to provide absurdly comprehensive and detailed registration lists of everyone and everything in their villages. These lists are then used to assess paddy quotas, quotas for forced labour, fees and extortion money, demands for carts, vehicles, and other equipment, and to closely monitor the movement of villagers and the arrival of anyone new in the village. People found to be unregistered are usually arrested, accused of being ‘insurgents’, and detained under torture. The registration lists are also a major tool for intimidation, making the villagers believe that the SPDC knows everything about them and making them afraid to do anything out of the ordinary. Teachers are much less likely to deviate from the strict SPDC curriculum when they know that they and all their students are registered with the military, while monks, abbots and Christian preachers are under similar pressure with regard to their spiritual teachings. The intention is to make every civilian feel intimidated and afraid at every moment.

Some of the orders below have been issued by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), which operates extensively in Pa’an District. Apart from their unit numbers, they are almost indistinguishable from SPDC orders in their content (orders issued by DKBA have been clearly indicated where this is not obvious). The DKBA orders forced labour, extorts money and materials, and threatens villagers to relocate in the same way as the SPDC, though often using more direct language. In many cases, such as the DKBA forced relocation order below (Order #P2), it is most likely that the DKBA is simply enacting an order which originated with the SPDC.

For more information on the current situation in Pa’an District, see "Uncertainty, Fear and Flight" (KHRG #98-08, 18/11/98) and other previous KHRG reports on the area.

 

Forced Relocations and Dictates to Villages

Order #P1*

[This forced relocation order was also included in "Uncertainty, Fear and Flight" (KHRG #98-08, 18/11/98).]

  Stamp:                                                Front Line Light Infantry Battalion No. (104)
[illegible]                                                Pah Klu village
                                                              Ref. No. 104 / 02 / Oo 1
                                                              Date: 1998 August

To:     Chairman
          xxxx village

Subject:     Order to vacate issued to the villages

1. Order has been issued to xxxx village to vacate the place and move to Kwih Lay village or to any other place where the villagers have relatives, at the latest by 10th September 1998.

2. After the date of issue of this order, it is warned that the Army will go around clearing the area and should any village or small huts in the paddy fields be found still standing, they will all be dismantled and destroyed.

                                                                                        [Sd.]
                                                                       (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                 Front line Light Infantry Battalion #104

[Copies of this order were sent to several villages in the Pah Klu area.]

 

Order #P2*

                                                                                    Date: 14-11-98
                                                                                  Ref. No. Ka/1-1161

To:       Village Head
            xxxx village
            village tract

Subject:     Notification regarding relocation to main part of the village

Regarding the above-mentioned subject, in the area of #3 Battalion of #999 Brigade all villages must move into the main part of the village. Severe action will be taken against those who fail to obey this order, up to the death penalty.

Orders

1. Do not have contact with any insurgent or rebel at all.
2. Do not provide any insurgent or rebel with food or protection money at all.
3. Do not live in any house or hut in the jungles, on the hills, in the valleys or in the foothills at all.
4. Every house or hut far from the main part of the village must be moved to the main village.

Note:
         We will not be responsible for those who fail to comply with and obey the above-mentioned orders within 30 days, between 20-11-98 and 20-12-98.

                                                 Signed:     Major Than Done
                                                                 Deputy Commander, #3 Battalion
                                                                 #999 Brigade, DKBA
                                                                 Nabu Military Zone, Northern Kawkareik

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                     Deputy Commander
                                                                           #3 Battalion
                                                                           #999 Brigade
                                                                                  DKBA

[This is a typewritten order sent to many villages with the village name written in on each one. Nabu (Karen name T’Nay Hsah) is a large village in the central plains of Pa’an District about 25 km north of Kawkareik town. Many villages are affected by this order.]

 

 

Order #P3

 

                    Stamp:                                       Advance #2 Light Infantry Battalion
Advance #2 Light Infantry Battalion              xxxx village
                Column #2                                    Ref. No. 100/01/C-1
                                                                     Date: October 7, 1998

 

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village
          Village Peace and Development Council

 

Subject:     To make the registration list

 

1. Regarding the above-mentioned subject, the following registration lists must be made accordingly by every village and must be finished on October 14, 1998.

 

(a) To register chairperson, secretary and members of VPDC, and village elders, by name, age, father’s name, NIC Number and address.
(b) To make a list of total number of houses in the village and population (male/female).
(c) To make sure that every house has the list of family members in hand and it must be placed where it is easy to check by the authorities, and the chairperson or the secretary must sign and stamp each family list.
(d) To register headmaster, teachers and students of each school by name, age, father’s name, educational status and address.
(e) To register the total number of monasteries and the abbot, monks and novices of each monastery by name, age, years of monkhood, father’s name and Buddhist Monk ID Number.
(f) To register doctors, medics and nurses in each government medical department by name, age, father’s name, NIC Number, Staff ID Number, address and educational status.
(g) To register medics who give medical treatment without official permission of the Medical Department by name, age, father’s name, NIC Number and educational status.
(h) To register the makers of furniture and utensils (wood / bamboo) by name, age, father’s name, NIC Number, educational status and address.
(i) To register motorcycle owners by name, age, father’s name, NIC Number and whether or not they have a motorcycle licence.
(j) To register number of houses by type (wooden house / bamboo house).
(k) To register the owners of cattle by name, age, father’s name, NIC Number, address and number of cattle (male/female) they own.
(l) To register the owners of tractors (big / small) by name, age, father’s name and NIC Number.
(m) To register shopkeepers by name, age, father’s name and NIC Number.
(n) To register those who make a living as hired servants [i.e. those who take money to do shifts of forced labour in the place of other villagers] by name, age, father’s name and NIC Number.
(o) To register vagabonds, tramps, infamous persons [those who are blacklisted and frequently detained and interrogated due to their perceived anti-government tendencies] and those who are difficult to control by name, age, father’s name and NIC Number.
(p) To make sure to have a log book for visitors (in/out) at the village.
(q) To register the wives and children of KNU rebels and other insurgents in the village by name, age, father’s name, educational status and NIC Number.
(r) To register the owners of paddy fields, farms [fields of non-rice crops], land, or gardens by name, age, father’s name, kind of crop they cultivate and number of acres they own.
(s) To register ex-soldiers (pensioner, dismissed, AWOL) by name, age, father’s name and NIC Number. [This means specifically Burmese Army soldiers.] 
(t) To register people who run boat or motor-boat businesses by name, age, father’s name and NIC Number.
(u) To register those who trade in gold and silver, jewellery and other precious stones, iron and other kinds of metals, and those who do currency exchange by name, age, father’s name and NIC Number.
(v) To register all events (import/export) of business in woods, including teak, other kinds of wood and furniture, and those who run this business by name, age, father’s name and NIC Number.
(w) To register those who trade in forest products and those who trade cattle, goats, and pigs by name, age, father’s name and NIC Number.
(x) To register drunkards, drug addicts, drug dealers and alcohol sellers.
(y) To register authorisations and documents issued by the authorities or Forestry Department for woods including teak in monasteries and monastery compounds. [i.e. wood cannot be cut to build houses or monasteries, nor taken from existing buildings, without SPDC permission papers (except by the Army).]

 

2. This is to notify that it will be entirely your responsibility if the authorities discover that you have failed to comply with the above-listed orders.

 

                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                                       Column Commander

 

[The Burmese original of this handwritten order is 3 pages long. These registration lists will be used, among other things, to assess extortion demands and forced labour demands on the villagers, and to arrest any unregistered visitors or strangers in the villages. These lists are a great source of intimidation to the villagers, and they are one of the main tools used by the SPDC to prohibit the freedoms of association, livelihood, and movement of civilians. VPDC = Village Peace and Development Council, village-level SPDC administration; at the village level, these are usually just village elders assigned against their will to make sure the villagers comply with military orders. NIC = National Identification Card, which all citizens of Burma are supposed to carry around with them; many rural Karen villagers have no such card. ‘Father’s name’ is commonly used to identify people in Burma because surnames are not used.]

 

Order #P4

                   Stamp:
Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                  Column #x

To: Chairperson
      xxxx village
      Village Peace and Development Council

Although you were informed to come to xxxx village on 7/10/98 after making the list of families in Chairperson’s village, you failed to comply. To explain the reason of your failure come and .......... [The remainder of this order was torn off and lost.]

 

[This relates to the registration list demanded in Order #P3, and threatens a village head for being tardy in providing the list.]

 

 

Order #P5

 

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                        18-10-98
             Column #2                                                     xxxx [village]

To:     U xxxx

 

Respectfully,

 

- Get better?
- A landmine went off at about 10 o’clock last night. Do you know where? I’d like to know whether the victim of the landmine is human or animal.
- If you are sick and unable to come just send a letter or someone else.

 

                                                                                   Respectfully,
                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                                  Capt. xxxx
                                                                             Column Commander
                                                                    A[dvance] #xxx LIB / C[olumn]#2

 

[Villagers are usually held responsible by the SPDC for any landmines which go off in their area. If it is an SPDC mine they are often fined for ‘the cost of the landmine’, while if it is a KNLA mine they are accused of planting it.]

 

 

Forced Labour

Order #P6*

             Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
  Military Control Command

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     To clear the scrub on both sides of Kawkareik-Aut Boh Deh car road

To clear the scrub along both sides of the Kawkareik-Aut Boh Deh car road, people from your village must come with their own machetes/hoes to xxxx Camp on Sunday, October 25, 1998 / the 6th Waxing day of Dasaungmon, 1360 Burmese Era, and if you fail, it will be entirely your responsibility.

Place:     Nabu                                                                                                                             [Sd. / Lt.]
Date:      24-10-98                                                                                                                       (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                                                                                                     #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This stretch of road is over 10 kilometres long. Villagers are forced to clear the scrub along most roads used by the SPDC military in order to decrease the chance of landmines or ambushes. They are also forced to stand as sentries at fixed positions along these roads every night, and are then held responsible for anything that happens. Aut Boh Deh is near Nabu (T’Nay Hsah). The date on the Burmese calendar is written on this order after the English date because many villagers do not know the English calendar. See also Orders #P7 and P8.]

 

Order #P7

To: Chairperson                                                 Stamp:
      xxxx village                                 #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                    Company #x

                                                                                                                                                                      Date: 29-10-98

Subject:     To come and see the Commander

To enquire about the progress of your village on the clearing of the Aut Boh Deh car road, you are informed to come and see the Commander of Headquarters Company of #xxx Light Infantry Battalion without fail.

If you haven’t sent any voluntary labourers yet, send them as soon as possible, and it will be entirely your responsibility if you fail to come and see the Commander.

                                                                                               [Sd. / Lt.]
                                                                                       Company Commander
                                                                                             Company #x

 

 

Order #P8

            Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                               Date: 19-10-98

          Company #x

To:     Dear Chairperson,

You have already been informed to clear the scrub along both sides of the car road, so this is to give notification that you must finish the work by 21/10/98 and see the Company Commander of the road security unit.

                                                                                   (for) Company Commander
                                                                                                  Column #1
                                                                                                  Security Unit

 

Order #P9*

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                       To:      Chairperson
  Military Control Command                                   xxxx village

Subject:    Calling for general voluntary labour

1. You yourself or a representative from your village must lead 30 persons bringing their own machetes/hoes with them to come to #xxx LIB HQ on 17/7/98 at 8 o’clock in the morning.

2. This is notification that it will be entirely your responsibility if you fail to comply.

Place:     xxxx                                                                         [Sd.]
Date:     14-7-98                                            Commander of Headquarters Company
                                                                            #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #P10

wwww |
  xxxx |
  yyyy |         - 4 villages
  zzzz |

For voluntary labour tomorrow on 11/11/98:

Report to Capt. xxxx of #xxx IB and go where he asks you to.

Then report to the operations unit on 12/11/98.

[This is a quickly scrawled order with no stamp or signature. Though the nature of the labour is unspecified, it appears to involve many people and is probably road labour or carrying rations.]

 

Order #P11

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                          To:     Chairperson
   Column #1 Headquarters                                       xxxx village

Subject:    To come and see the Column Commander

You are informed to bring three servants with food for 3 days and come to xxxx as soon as you receive this letter and if you fail, it will be entirely your responsibility.

Place:    xxxx                                                                                [Sd. / Cpl.]
Date:    10-9-98                                                                  (for) Battalion Commander 
                                                                                        #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[These ‘servants’ will most likely be used as porters.]

 

Order #P12

             Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                      To:      Chairperson
   Column #1 Headquarters                                   xxxx village

Subject:     To come and see the Column Commander

This is to inform you to come to xxxx, bringing two servants with [their own] food for three days as soon as you receive this letter. If you fail, it is entirely your responsibility.

Place:     xxxx                                                                    [Sd.]
Date:     10-9-98                                                (for) Battalion Commander

                                                                      #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[These ‘servants’ will most likely be used as porters.]

 

 

Order #P13*

 

To:    Chairperson                                                                                  22-8-98
         xxxx village

 

Dear Chairperson - The Col[umn] #x HQ needs two messengers from Chairperson’s village, so you are informed to come and bring them today at 1000 hours.
Send them to xxxx Column.

 

                                                                                             [Sd. / Lt.]
                                                                                       Cpy. Cmdr. [Company Commander]

                                                                                          #xxx LIB/xxxx

 

[Villagers are used as forced labour messengers to run messages between different Army units and to deliver written orders like these to village heads.]

 

Order #P14

To:    Chairperson (xxxx)                                                                            9-10-98

I heard that the xxxx Column sent me an important letter with U xxxx. Therefore, send U xxxx with that letter along with this messenger.

Send immediately.
                                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                                               Column Commander
                                                                                                     Capt. xxxx

[U xxxx is a villager who is being used by the military to forward letters, and ‘this messenger’ is a villager doing forced labour delivering orders for the military.]

 

Order #P15

            Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                            Date: 25-2-98
        Company #1

To:    Chairperson
         xxxx village

Right now when you receive this letter, come and bring 2 servants to xxxx village, you are informed. Without fail, come today and bring them.

                                                                                         [Sd.]
                                                                              Company Commander
                                                                                      Company #1
                                                                           #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #P16

            Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion               To:      Chairperson                               27-2-98
         Company #1                                       xxxx village

Headman, come and bring 2 servants from your village to xxxx village, and the Chairperson must come to give us information, you are informed.

                                                                                         [Sd.]
                                                                            Company Commander
                                                                                    Company #1
                                                                         #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #P17

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
           Company #1

To:     Chairperson                                                                 Date: 6-9-98th [sic]

- Come to the Column with the servant today, 6/9/98.
- This servant went back on 3/9/98 without asking any permission.
- You have already been summoned with two letters - one on 4/9/98 and today with this one. Come to the Column as soon as you receive this letter and if you fail to do so, it will be entirely your responsibility.

To bring:     A viss of chicken, 50 kyat [½ viss] of cooking oil 
                   A package of Thukhita cheroots

                                                                                                         [Sd.]
                                                                                             Company Commander
                                                                                                    Company #1

[The ‘servant’ is a villager who was forced to go as a porter or for Army camp labour and fled before his assignment was done. If the village head takes this villager to the camp as ordered, the villager may face an increased term of forced labour or arrest, detention and torture; but if the village head doesn’t comply, he or she will face a similar punishment. One viss = 1.6 kg / 3.5 lb]

 

Order #P18

             Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
  Column #1 Headquarters

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     To send a servant

You are informed to come and bring a servant as soon as you receive this letter and bring three viss of chicken as the fine for fleeing. If you fail to comply, it will be your responsibility and severe action will be taken.

Place:     xxxx                                                                        [Sd. / Cpl.]
Date:     2-10-98                                                           (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                                #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[In written orders ‘servant’ is used to mean porters or other forced labourers. It appears that one of the villagers sent as a forced labour porter has fled, so the village head is being ordered to bring a replacement porter and 3 viss (4.8 kilograms) of chicken as a ‘fine’.]

 

Order #P19*

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                                  19-2-98
         Company #1

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Headman, from your village 2 servants ran away, so call 2 more servants and come yourself, headman, to give information. For the 2 servants who ran away the fine is 20 viss [32 kg / 70 lb] of pork. Bring it right away. On 20-2-98 in the morning come and arrive here, you are informed. If there is no pork [you] have to pay fine money of 1,000 kyats for each person per day.

                                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                          Company Commander
                                                                                                  Company #1
                                                                                      #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[The fine of ‘1,000 kyats for each person per day’ means 1,000 for each of the 2 runaway porters, i.e. 2,000 per day, until the porters are replaced and the fine has been paid.]

 

Order #P20

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
           Company #1

To:     Chairperson                                                                                   21-2-98
          xxxx village

Headman, on 20-2-98 you were ordered to come but you did not come, so [you are] ordered again. When the messenger arrives, come right away to xxxx camp with the fine for 2 servants who ran away and with 2 new servants without fail. Come and give us information, you are informed.

                                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                                                 Company Commander
                                                                                         Company #1
                                                                             #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[This order followed Order #P19, after the headman failed to appear at the camp as commanded.]

 

Order #P21

[This is not an SPDC order, but a village head’s notes figuring out who must be sent to do forced labour. ‘xxxx’ are the names of people to do the forced labour; ‘yyyy’ are place names.]

120. List of servants, date: 3-4-98
Two servants - to hire, one month 10,000 [kyat].
- yyyy area:               Pa xxxx, xxxx
- yyyy:                     Pa xxxx, xxxx
- yyyy:                      xxxx, Saw xxxx (substitute with) two others
- yyyy:                      xxxx, hire money for one person

119. List of servants, date: 28-3-98 — 7-4-98
(1) Capt. xxxx                                             (2) U xxxx          |
(3) Pa xxxx                                                 (4) xxxx              | These 4 replaced with money
(5) Bald-head from xxxx                             (6) xxxx
                These 2 people are going on their own. [Numbers 5 and 6]
The sentries, Maung xxxx, xxxx, two others, clarify it to them

Servants for DKBA Capt. xxxx
Three regular servants and a hired servant.
(1) Pa xxxx                (2) Maung xxxx
Total 21 persons.

[The headman has noted ‘regular’ and ‘hired’ forced labourers. ‘Regular’ means villagers who are ‘going on their own’ for forced labour. ‘Hired’ refers to people hired by the villagers to take their place for their assigned turn. ‘Sentries’ are villagers doing a turn of forced labour as Army camp or road sentries.]

 

Order #P22

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                        To:      Chairperson
  Military Control Command                                    xxxx village

Subject:     Summoning a bullock-cart

1. We summoned a bullock-cart from your village on the 16th, but it has not shown up.
2. Therefore, come immediately to the headquarters in xxxx village as soon as you receive that previous letter.
3. You are notified that the appropriate action will be taken if the bullock-cart shows up late.

                                                                                              [Sd. / Sgt.]
                                                                                         Intelligence Sergeant

 

[Whenever a bullock-cart is summoned, the owner must drive the cart with his own team of 2 cattle and do forced labour hauling supplies for as long as required by the troops.]

 

Order #P23

 

23-1-98

 

To:     xxxx village

 

I write a letter to you.

 

There were 60 logs here and some have been lost. Only just over 30 out of the 60 logs still remain. There are also four big logs remaining. Therefore send the elephant xxxx [this is the elephant’s name] tomorrow to finish the work in a day.

 

P.S. - I will send you the certificate of work accomplished by the elephant.

 

                                                                                  Friendly,

 

                                                                                    xxxx
                                                                  Forestry Control Department
                                                                                   Myawaddy      [Sd.]

 

[This order summons an elephant and its rider/owner for a day of forced labour. The time of working elephants is a valuable commodity in the villages, so this is a significant demand.]

 

Order #P24

To:     Ko xxxx

I’ve just arrived back at xxxx but I am going out for the moment. I will summon you when I get back. Do the things which are to be fully accomplished.

                                                                   Friendly,
                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                   Lt. xxx

[Note: The ‘things’ to be ‘accomplished’ means to finish the forced labour assignments.]

 

Order #P25

             Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion         To:     Chairperson                      Date: 10-4-98
           Column #2                                  xxxx [village]

You are informed to come immediately and see the Column Commander to settle the matter of servants as soon as you receive this letter.
Bring two chickens and vegetables with you.
                                                                                  [Sd.]
                                                                        Column Commander
                                                                    #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

 

Order #P26

 

        Stamp: 
#xxx Infantry Battalion                                                    16-4-98
     Company #4

 

To:     Capt. xxxx

 

I’d like you to cooperate and send the servants from xxxx village on the western side of xxxx stream and send U xxxx, U xxxx, U xxxx, and U xxxx along with the servants hired from yyyy village.

 

I want to let you know that there is a possible shortage of manpower since we have to call and use the men from the above-mentioned area whenever we need them, and I’d like you to solve this problem.

 

                                                                        Respectfully,
                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                                    Camp Commander
                                                                         xxxx Camp

 

[This is a letter from one SPDC Army officer to another, essentially asking for help in obtaining more forced labourers because his unit is having trouble rounding up enough village men for forced labour in their area. U xxxx and the others are probably village heads to be sent along in order to tell them about increased demands for ‘servants’.]

 

Order #P27*

To:      xxxx village tract elder                                               18-4-98

Subject - Writing to let you know

On 18-4-98 if you receive my letter come and replace your porters at xxxx, today immediately, you must arrive.

Note - Come, if you don’t come I will take severe action.

                                                                      Brigade #999
                                                                      Battalion #3
                                                                      Company #x
                                                                      Company Commander - Saw xxxx
                                                                      D.K.B.A.

[Note: This DKBA order is written in Karen. Unlike the SPDC, the DKBA refers directly to ‘porters’ rather than ‘servants’. ‘Replace your porters’ means to provide replacements for the villagers currently there doing a regular rotation of forced labour.]

 

Order #P28

To:      xxxx village                                                             Date: 25-1-98
           Village headperson

Subject - About porters

If possible arrange porters, ask 2 to come when you see this letter. Come quickly.

[The remainder of the order has been torn off. This DKBA order is written in Karen.]

 

Extortion of Cash, Food and Materials

Order #P29

            Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                                      17-8-98

  Military Control Command

To:     Village Head (xxxx)

Subject:     Request for wooden planks

Regarding the above subject, you are notified that each village must help A#xxx [Advance #xxx] LIB with five planks of 6½-inch wood.

                                                                                               [Sd. / 2nd Lt.]
                                                                                      (for) Battalion Commander

[Judging by other orders sent to villages by the same unit, this should probably read ‘6 x ½’ instead of ‘6½’; it refers to planks 6" by ½", but of unspecified length. The village heads may know the length required from oral commands or past experience.]

 

 

Order #P30

 

To:     Village Head (xxxx village)                                                               20-8-98

 

Subject:     To send wooden planks

 

You are again informed to send five 6 x ½ foot wooden planks to Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion on 21/8/98 to use where needed.

 

                                                                                               [Sd. / 2nd Lt.]
                                                                                      (for) Battalion Commander

 

[Judging by other orders sent to villages by the same unit, this should probably read ‘6 x ½-inch’ instead of ‘feet’; it refers to planks 6" by ½", but of unspecified length. The village heads may know the length required from oral commands or past experience.]

 

Order #P31

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion

  Military Control Command              To:      Village Head (xxxx village)                              20-8-98

Subject:     To send wooden planks

1. You are informed to send five 6 x ½ wooden planks without fail to Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion to use where required.
2. Send them on 21/8/98.

                                                                                   [Sd. / 2nd Lt.]
                                                                           (for) Battalion Commander

[The measurement units are not clearly specified, but it appears that the planks must be 6" x ½", and the village heads may already know the length being demanded.]

 

Order #P32

            Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
  Military Control Command                To:     Village Head (xxxx village)         20-8-98

Subject:     To send wooden planks

1. You are informed to send five 6 x ½ wooden planks without fail to Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion to use where required.
2. Send them on 21/8/98.

                                                                                           [Sd. / 2ndLt.]
                                                                                 (for) Battalion Commander

[The measurement units are not clearly specified, but it appears that the planks must be 6" x ½", and the village heads may already know the length being demanded.]

 

 

Order #P33*

 

                 Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                                  31-10-98
  Military Control Command

 

To:     Chairperson
          wwww / xxxx / yyyy / zzzz villages

 

Each village must send 200 bamboo [poles] and 50 wooden poles to xxxx Camp tomorrow, 31/10/98 [sic; tomorrow will be 1/11/98].

 

                                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                                      Intelligence Officer
                                                                                            xxxx Camp

 

Order #P34

             Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
  Military Control Command

To:     Chairperson (xxxx)

Subject:     Informing [you] to provide roofing leaves and bamboo

This is to inform you to send the following items, needed by Column #1 of Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion, to xxxx Camp of Column #1 on 23/8/98 at 1100 hours.

    (A) 15 shingles of roofing leaves
    (B) 2 pieces of 12-taun Wabo bamboo

                                                                                                [Sd. / Lt.]
                                                                                  (for) Battalion Commander

[Roofing leaves are of a special type which must be gathered in the forest. Using shaved bamboo, these are then woven into shingles 1-2 metres long. ‘Taun’ is a unit of measure equivalent to 18 inches (elbow to fingertip); thus, each bamboo pole must be 18 feet long. Wabo is a particularly large and thick variety of bamboo, 6 inches or more in diameter and 15, 20 or more feet long.]

 

Order #P35

             Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
  Military Control Command

To:     Chairpersons (four villages)                                                        10-8-98

Subject:      Asking for roofing leaves

Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion needs roofing leaves, so this is to notify [you] that each village must send 25 shingles of roofing leaves and send 10 Wabo bamboo if roofing leaves are unavailable.

                                                                                          [Sd. / 2ndLt.]
                                                                                (for) Battalion Commander

[Roofing leaves are of a special type which must be gathered in the forest. Using shaved bamboo, these are then woven into shingles 1-2 metres long. Wabo is a particularly large and thick variety of bamboo; split bamboo can also be used as roofing, though leaves are preferred.]

 

Order #P36

Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                 To:     Village Head
  Military Control Command                                             xxxx village

Subject:     Request for Wabo bamboo

For use in repairing the fence of the LIB for security measures, every village must send one Wabo bamboo on the 12th of this month, and you are requested to cooperate.

                                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                                           Intelligence Officer

 

 

Order #P37

 

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
  Military Control Command                         To:     Chairperson (xxxx village)

 

Subject:    Informing [you] to provide roofing leaves and bamboo

 

You are informed to send the following items, needed by Column #1 of Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion, to Column #1 (xxxx Camp) on 23/8/98 at 1100 hours.

 

    (A) 15 shingles of roofing leaves
    (B) two 12-taun [18-foot long] Wabo bamboo [poles]

 

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                          (for) Battalion Commander

 

[Roofing leaves are of a special type which must be gathered in the forest. Using shaved bamboo, these are then woven into shingles 1-2 metres long. ‘Taun’ is a unit of measure equivalent to 18 inches (elbow to fingertip); thus, each bamboo pole must be 18 feet long.]

Order #P38*

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx [village]

Dear Chairperson, I respectfully send this letter. Food for our Major is short. I request you to send a chicken, a bottle of cooking oil, onions, coffee mix, a package of Thukhita cheroots, dried chillies and other vegetables.

                                                                                                  Yours,
                                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                                             Column Office

[In the order ‘a chicken’ was written but then crossed out for some reason.]

 

Order #P39*

                                                                                                Date: 2-9-98th
To:     Chairperson - Mother
          xxxx village

You are informed to come to the Column and bring a viss of chicken and two packages of Ajinomoto [seasoning powder] with you. If you fail, it will be your responsibility, madam.

                                                                                                  [Sd.]
                                                                                                 #xxx LIB

[One viss is 1.6 kilograms or 3.5 pounds. This order was sent to the village headwoman with a dried chillie pepper enclosed; the chillie is a threat that severe action will be taken for failure to comply with the order. Chillies, bullets and bits of charcoal are frequently sent along with written orders for this purpose. The chillie is generally interpreted to mean that the troops will come and loot food or kill all the livestock for failure to comply.]

 

Order #P40

                                                                                            Date: 8-8-98th [sic]

To:     Chairperson - xxxx [village]

The Column is here. You are informed to come to the Column and bring four pyi of rice and a viss of chicken with you, gentlemen. Come along with this messenger right now.

                                                                                              Respectfully,
                                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                                                 #xxx LIB

[‘The Column is here’ means that a frontline operations column has arrived at the local Army camp. One viss is 1.6 kilograms / 3.5 pounds. One pyi is 8 small milktins full, weighing about 2 kilograms / 4.5 pounds.]

 

Order #P41

To:     Village Head
          xxxx village

The Column is here. You are informed to send a viss of chicken and a package of Thukhita cheroots as soon as possible.

                                                                                                  [Sd.]
                                                                                         Column Commander
                                                                                               #xxx LIB

 

Order #P42

             Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
  Military Control Command

                                                                                                        31-10-98

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Come and bring fruits and leaves, gourds and other vegetables from your village, together with wwww, yyyy, andzzzz [villages; all 4 villages are being ordered to bring food].

                                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                              Intelligence Officer

 

Order #P43

             Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
         Headquarters

To:     xxxx Village Head

Come along with the messenger as soon as you receive this letter. The Column Commander has important matters to discuss with you and informs you to bring the servants’ fees for xxxx village.

                                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                           Column Commander    
                                                                                                 22/11/98

 

Order #P44

1-11-98 to 15-11-98, 2 servants, 15,000 kyats.
20-10-98 to 15-11-98, 1 servant, 13,000 kyats.
The deposit of 2,000 kyats has already been received and the balance is 26,000 kyats.
Come and pay on 10/11/98.

                                                                                                 [Sd. ‘I.O.’]

[This order is an SPDC officer’s quickly written demand for ‘porter fees’ from a village headman. The village must pay 15,000 Kyat or send 2 porters from November 1-15, and an additional 13,000 Kyat or send one porter from October 20 to November 15. The references to ‘servants’ here are mainly for show; the officer wants and expects the money, which he and his colleagues will take for themselves. Demands for actual forced labour are given separately and in addition to these demands for ‘fees’. This order was followed by Order #P45. ‘I.O’, written on the order in English letters, probably stands for Intelligence Officer.]

 

Order #P45*

            Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
         Company #2                                                                             14-11-98

To:     Ko xxxx (xxxx Village Head)

Give the balance of servants’ fees to the man who brings this letter. For the moment I have taken money from him for emergency needs. Ko xxxx, you should release money to him if you receive this letter. From 21/10/98 to 15/11/98, 13,000 kyats for one servant; deposit was 2,000 kyats and the balance is 11,000 kyats. From 1/11/98 to 15/11/98, 15,000 kyats for two servants. I heard that the xxxx Column has already received 15,000 kyats. Therefore, the remaining 11,000 kyats and the deposit for three servants of 6,000 kyats, totalling 17,000 kyats, must be paid right now.

                                                                                                   Respectfully,
                                                                                                   [Sd. ‘xxxx’]
                                                                                            Company Commander
                                                                                                   Company #2
                                                                                                     14/11/98

[This order is a demand for ‘porter fees’ (referred to as ‘servants’ fees’) from a village headman by an SPDC military officer. Villages must provide forced labourers and also pay ‘porter fees’ which go into the pockets of the officers; if they cannot pay, they must send additional forced labourers. Here the officer has demanded 13,000 Kyat or one extra labourer for October 21 to November 15, and 15,000 Kyat or two extra labourers for November 1-15. It is already understood by both parties that the headman will pay instead of sending the labourers. He has already paid a ‘deposit’ of 2,000 Kyat on the first amount, and has also paid the full 15,000 of the second amount to the military operations column. The ‘balance’ of 11,000 Kyat is now being demanded, as well as a new ‘deposit’ of 6,000 Kyat (or 3 labourers) on the amount to be demanded for the coming 2-week period. The officer has taken this money (totalling 17,000 Kyat) from the elder of another village, then forced the elder to take this letter to the village that ‘owes’ the money to get his 17,000 Kyat reimbursed. This is typical of the constant demands for money and forced labourers faced by village elders. Note that he refers to the village head using the prefix ‘Ko’ (older brother), which is very disrespectful to a village head; he should use ‘U’.]

 

Order #P46

                                                                                                      16-10-98
To:     U xxxx (Chairperson)

- I write a letter to you.

- I received 12,000 kyats from U xxxx. That is for the fees from 1-10-98 to 15-10-98.

- I just paid 12,000 kyats of advance fees for two servants hired from xxxx [village]. It is for the fees from 16-10-98 to 30-10-98. You must pay me back.

- Ko xxxx, you don’t need to pay the fees for the two servants I hired since I’ve already paid the fees for up to 30-10-98. You will have to pay the fees for the coming months.

                                                                                                Friendly,
                                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                                               Capt. xxxx

[This order specifies several things; the SPDC Army officer verifies receiving the extortion fees already sent by the village, states that he has paid the fees for the next 2-week period to the Battalion or the Operations Column and that the village must pay him back for this, and adds that the village can pay him back by covering all the fees in the coming months.]

 

Order #P47

To:     xxxx [village] 
          Village Head

You are informed that we, the DKBA group, need the following wood and request you to help us. Send it to the DKBA Camp at xxxx. We want you to comply as soon as possible.

8 x 1       = 35 planks
10 x 1     = 20 planks
14 x 2     = 10 pieces

4-taun [6-foot] wood:   1

                                                                                      DKBA group at xxxx
                                                                                     xxxx [officer’s name]

[The specifications for the wood are given as shown here and do not give lengths for the planks, though this may already be understood from previous orders. ‘8x1’, ‘10x1’, and ‘14x2’ are probably in inches, i.e. 8" x 1" by an unspecified length.]

 

 

Order #P48

 

                                                                            26-1-98
8-3-6-3         50 pieces.

Already done - 27

 

Still remaining - 23 pieces

 

Already arrived - 16 pieces
17 of them have not yet arrived. Still 11 pieces at xxxx’s sawmill.

 

Haven’t yet been done, still remaining - 23 pieces.

 

         9
9     Size     9    [Note: A rectangular shape was formed around the word "size".]
         9

 

         6
6     Size      6        Length - 6 plah [handspans]
         6                   [Note: A circular shape was formed around the word "size"]

 

[Note: This order from the DKBA is written in Karen and unsigned. It appears to concern 50 floorboard planks and other wood which the village has been ordered to provide by cutting the logs and then having them milled at xxxx’s sawmill.]

Order #P49

To:     [blank]                                                                             Date: 24-1-98

Writing to let all of you know as follows.
In the past any time the Burmese ordered us, they wrote us a letter each time. Now we never receive any letter. We also have many problems, so I beg you that I have no time to go because I have to get many kinds of wood for the Burmese. That’s all.

                                                                                                  Please,

                                                                                                Chairman
                                                                                                    xxxx

[Note: This letter is written in Karen from one headman to others, pleading that he has no time to attend meetings because he is too busy doing things for the SPDC; ‘now we never receive any letter’ probably means he has to run back and forth to the SPDC camp to receive orders.]

 

Summons to ‘Meetings’

 

Order #P50

                                                                                               27-10-98
To:     Chairperson                              Stamp:
          xxxx village                #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                            Military Control Command

Subject:     Invitation to attend a meeting

This is to inform you to come to xxxx Camp today at 1 p.m. to cooperate in operations and security matters.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                             Intelligence Officer
                                                                  Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[The meeting to which the village head is being summoned will probably be to tell him/her how many villagers will have to be provided for forced labour as porters, sentries and messengers.]

 

Order #P51

                Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                                        27-10-98
  Military Control Command

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     Invitation to attend a meeting

A meeting will be held today at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, so you are informed to come to xxxx Camp.

                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                            Intelligence Officer
                                                                 Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #P52

                                                                                                          24-10-98
To:     U xxxx (Chairperson)                                                              xxxx village

- I’ve just arrived back, U xxxx.
- There is something important here so come to me right now.

                                                                                          [Sd.]
                                                                                      Capt. xxxx
                                                                                Column Commander
                                                                            Col. #1 of Ad[vance] #xxx LIB   

 

Order #P53

          Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
        Company #4

To:     Chairperson/Secretary 12-10-98
          xxxx village

Come and report to the xxxx Column as soon as you receive this letter. If the Chairperson is not free, the Secretary must come. It is the xxxx Column that is asking you to come. You must come today.

                                                                                                     [Sd. / Lt.]
                                                                                              Company Commander
                                                                                                   Company #4

 

Order #P54

                   Stamp:
Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                 Column #2

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Chairperson, come along with this messenger as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                                [Sd. / Corporal, 4/9/98]
                                                                                (for) Column Commander

 

Order #P55

                                        Stamp:
                    Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                Column #1 Office

To:     Chairperson 28-8-98
          xxxx village

Come and contact the Column at xxxx village as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                                             [Sd.]
Place:     xxxx                                                         (for) Column Commander
Date:      28-8-98                                             Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #P56

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion

To:     Village Head / Pagoda Trustees                                          17-8-98

Subject:     Invitation to attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, you are informed to come to #xxx LIB HQ at xxxx as soon as possible to have a discussion about the paddy from xxxx village.

                                                                                            [Sd. / Lt., 17/8]
                                                                                    (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                                    #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[The pagoda trustees are elders who take care of matters related to the Buddhist temple. The discussion will likely concern paddy quotas to be handed over to the Army.]

 

Order #P57

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion

To:      Village Head / Pagoda Trustees                                                         17-8-98
           xxxx village

Subject:     Invitation to attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, you are informed to come to #xxx LIB HQ at xxxx as soon as possible to have a discussion about the paddy from xxxx village.

                                                                                          [Sd. / Lt., 17/8]
                                                                                    (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                                   #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #P58

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                             18-7-98 [sic: should be 17-8-98]

To:     Village Head / Pagoda Trustees
          xxxx village

Subject:      Invitation to attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, you are informed to come to #xxx LIB HQ at xxxx as soon as possible to have a discussion about the paddy from xxxx village.

                                                                                             [Sd. / Lt., 17/8]
                                                                                       (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                                     #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #P59

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion

To:     Village Head / Pagoda Trustees                          18-7-98 [sic: should be 17-8-98] 
          xxx village

Subject:     Invitation to attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, you are informed to come to #xxx LIB HQ at xxxx as soon as possible to have a discussion about the paddy from xxxx village.

                                                                                           [Sd. / Lt., 17/8]
                                                                                     (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                                   #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #P60

             Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
           Column #1

To:     Chairperson                                                                          Date: 15-8-98
          xxxx village

Subject:      Calling in emergency

You are informed to come along with this messenger to see me at Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion in xxxxvillage. If you fail to do so, it will be entirely your responsibility.

1) Bring three viss of chicken with you.

                                                                                              [Sd. / Lt.]
                                                                                        Intelligence Officer
                                                                                  #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #P61

xxxx Village Head:                                                                                    15/8/98

Come to xxxx Camp tomorrow at 8 o’clock in the morning.

                                                                                             [Sd. / 2nd Lt.]

                                                                                                Stamp:
                                                                                    #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                                      Military Control Command

 

 

Order #P62

 

                                                                                                         15-8-98

 

xxxx Village Head

 

Come to xxxx Camp tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock.

 

                                                                               [Sd. / 2nd Lt.]

 

                                                                                    Stamp:
                                                                       #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                         Military Control Command

Order #P63

                Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                         14-8-98

To:     Village Head
          xxxx village

Come and report to the Column as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                                [Sd. / ‘Lt.’, 14/8]
                                                                          (for) Battalion Commander
                                                                         #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                                                      Column#1

[Identical orders were sent to the heads of several villages to attend this meeting.]

 

Order #P64

xxxx Village Head

Come to xxxx Camp on the 10th, tomorrow, at 8 o’clock in the morning without fail.

 

                                                                                    [Sd. / 2nd Lt.]
                                                                                 Intelligence Officer

 

 

Order #P65

 

To:

 

Chairperson: Come to xxxx village as soon as you receive this letter.

 

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                             [Sd.]
         Headquarters                                                Column Commander

 

Order #P66

               Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion
         Headquarters

To:     xxxx Village Head

The new Column Commander is summoning all village heads for a discussion, so you, xxxx Village Head, are informed to come and see the Column Commander as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                                         Column Commander

 

Order #P67

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village                                                                 Date: 19-4-98

Subject:     Summons to discuss and coordinate

Regarding the above subject, the Chairperson yourself must come to xxxx camp to discuss the matter of servants today, 19-4-98, at 12:00. Come and meet the camp commander to discuss it, you are informed.

               Stamp:                                                                  [Sd.]
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                          Camp Commander
             Column #1                                                            xxxx camp
                                                                                  A[dvance] LIB xxx

 

Order #P68

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village

Subject:     To attend a meeting

A cooperation meeting for important matters will be held at xxxx Camp of Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion, so you are informed to come to xxxx Camp at 2 o’clock in the afternoon on 18/4/98 without fail.

                Stamp:                                                          [Sd. / Lt.]
Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion                           (for) Battalion Commander 
    Column #1 Headquarters                              Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #P69

To:     Chairperson                                                                     17-4-98
          xxxx village

You are informed to come to xxxx Camp without fail as soon as you receive this letter.

                  Stamp:                                                           [Sd. / Lt.]
Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion                              (for) Battalion Commander
     Column #1 Headquarters                                Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #P70

To:     Chairperson                                                                         15-4-98
          xxxx village

Chairperson, come to xxxx tomorrow, 16/4/98, to settle the matter of servants.

                                                                             [Sd. / Captain]

[‘The matter of servants’ means dictating demands for porters and other forced labour.]

 

Order #P71

            Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion                To:      xxxx [village]
Company #[illegible]                           Chairperson

Dear Chairperson, come to the Camp as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                              Camp Commander
                                                                                    xxxx Camp

 

Order #P72

To:     Chairperson
          xxxx village                                                                       Date: 21-2-98

From xxxx village, sawmill worker U xxxx and the Chairman must come together to xxxx camp on 22-2-98 in the morning at 08:00. Arrive without fail to give us information, you are informed.

              Stamp:                                                                   [Sd.]
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                          Intelligence Officer
           Column #1

 

Order #P73

To:     Chairperson/Secretary
          xxxx village                                                                            6-11-98

Subject:     To come and see me

Regarding the above subject, you must come and see me at Khaw Taw village as soon as you receive this letter. If you fail, it will be entirely your responsibility.

                                                                                 [Sd. / 6-11-98]
                                                                                         Capt.
                                                                           #3 Battalion, #999 Brigade
                                                                               Eastern Dawna DKBA

[Khaw Taw is the DKBA headquarters on the Salween River, also known as Myaing Gyi Ngu.]

 

Order #P74

Stamp:
D.K.B.A.

To:     Chairperson/Secretary                                              Date: 29/10/98
          xxxx village

Subject:     To come and see me

Chairperson and Secretary must come and see me at xxxx village today at 11:00.

                                                                                      [Sd. / 29/10/98]
                                                                                         Capt. xxxx
                                                                                #3 Bn., #999 Brigade, DKBA
                                                                                      xxxx villa

 

 

Toungoo District

Toungoo (Taw Oo) district forms the northern tip of Karen State, sandwiched between Karenni State to the east, Shan State to the north, and Pegu Division to the west. Much of this district is steep forested hills with small remote Karen villages. For several years these villages have suffered destruction and forced labour as SLORC/SPDC troops have tried to undermine the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) in the area by wiping out village food supplies and forcing people to build a military access road into the area. This road now reaches Bu Sah Kee, though in rainy season it is wiped out and vehicles can only reach Kaw Thay Der or Yay Tho Gyi; hence the orders in this report ordering as many as 260 villagers at a time to "transport food", i.e. carry Army rations, from Yay Tho Gyi to Bu Sah Kee and other Army camps. From Yay Tho Gyi to Bu Sah Kee is several days’ walk over very steep forested hills.

Now that the SPDC Infantry Battalions are more strongly entrenched in the area the villagers were hoping for a respite; many of them in villages along the road even call their villages "Nyein Chan Yay" ("Peace") villages, having made an informal agreement with the local SPDC military that they will comply with all orders and demands if only their villages are not destroyed or forced to move. This includes villages such as Baw Ga Li Gyi and Yay Tho Gyi (Kaw Thay Der). However, these villages are facing increasingly heavy demands for porters and money by the SPDC battalions, and as they have no money to pay to avoid portering they are in a dilemma. At the same time, villages which are not seen as cooperating fully are being punished severely. In Saw Wah Der village SPDC troops recently chose all the nicest houses in the village and burned them, and all of the villagers now live in the forest in fear. Further east, SPDC Major Myo Myint could see the ricefields of Bu Sah Kee village from the camp of Infantry Battalion #26 which he commands, and the villagers there always flee into the forest when his troops approach; so in September 1998 he sent patrols out with orders to destroy the entire rice crop of the 60 families in the village. They uprooted, cut down or stomped down about half of the entire crop which was to support the village through the coming year, and the villagers there no longer know what they will do when they run out of rice.

The motor road now being built from Toungoo in Pegu Division to Mawchi in southern Karenni (Kayah) State is intended to create easier access to southern Karenni from the central plains of Burma, both to make military control of Karenni easier and because Mawchi is a mining area. The distance is about 80 kilometres in a straight line, but actually closer to double this distance because most of the route is through steep and remote hill country. Though it is usually referred to as the Toungoo-Mawchi road, there is already a road from Toungoo to Baw Ga Li Gyi, so the new construction is actually from Baw Ga Li Gyi to Mawchi. As can be seen by the orders below, the road is being cleared and constructed using large amounts of forced labour of the villagers. Many villagers in Saw Wah Der area lost their 1998 rice crop because there were so many SPDC troops along the road route that they didn’t dare to plant in the nearby fields. Construction stopped during the rainy season of 1998 but has now resumed. Once it is completed, it is almost certain that the same villagers will be forced to guard it against mining, sabotage or ambush of military convoys, because the road passes through remote areas.

Many of the orders below call for ‘servants’ or ‘loh ah pay’ (translated here as ‘voluntary labour’), SPDC’s terms for forced labour. The villagers who go are used as porters, messengers, road labourers, and doing Army camp labour such as sentry duty, cleaning, and building and maintaining barracks, fences and booby-traps. ‘Operation servants’ specifically means long-term frontline porters. Village heads are called to ‘meetings’ to ‘discuss the matter of servants’ or to ‘discuss clearing of the road’, but at these meetings the Army officer or local Peace & Development Council (PDC) officials simply dictate forced labour assignments and threats for failure to comply. Some orders refer to forced labour for the Na Pa Ka [the Western Military Command]; though they are based far to the west in Arakan (Rakhine) State, one Strategic Command of 3 Battalions has been operating in Toungoo District for at least 2-3 years now to assist the Southern Military Command.

Most of the orders below are from Baw Ga Li Gyi village tract, a group of over 10 villages administered by the Village Tract PDC in Baw Ga Li Gyi, a large village of several hundred households. This Village Tract PDC is clearly working closely with the local SPDC Battalions; they receive orders from the Battalions, then pass them on to the elders of all villages under their administration, sometimes with extra demands tacked on to enrich themselves. In the process, a complex system of ‘servants’ and ‘servants’ fees’ has developed within this village tract. Initially the local Battalions issue orders to the Village Tract PDC demanding numbers of forced labourers for a specific purpose. Knowing that the villages do not want to do the labour and will be slow to comply, the Village Tract PDC often hires day labourers through agents in Toungoo, pays for their ‘car fees’ (i.e. transport costs) to Baw Ga Li Gyi, and supplies them to the SPDC military. The Village Tract PDC then issues orders to the villages under their administration to pay their share of the cost based on the relative size (number of households) of their village; for example, a village may be ordered to pay for 10 of the 80 people hired by the Village Tract PDC. The amounts are often not specified in the orders because they are already understood; for example, 4,000 Kyats for each short-term porter plus 250 Kyats for his ‘car fee’.

Under this system even small villages must pay 30,000-80,000 Kyats per month, and many simply do not have the money to do so because of all the other SPDC demands they have to meet. As a result, most villages are delinquent in their payments, and once payments fall behind by a couple of months the Village Tract PDC often tells the village ‘we will no longer take any responsibility for you’ and reports the village to the military for failure to ‘perform their duty’. A military column might then storm the village to loot and burn houses as punishment.

In addition to these fees, villages are faced with direct orders to provide forced labourers, sometimes when the military says it is for ‘emergency’ purposes, meaning that they need labourers right away for one-time work. At the same time, they face constant demands for rice, meat, vegetables, fruits, cheroots, condiments, and building supplies such as bamboo and roofing leaves. In July 1998 villages throughout the village tract were even ordered to form teams to compete in the "Battalion Commander’s Cup Volleyball Tournament" (see Order #T64). Usually when villages are ordered to form teams for SPDC competitions, they are then forced to pay a heavy ‘entry fee’ to enter their team, while villages which do not form teams are forced to pay an even heavier ‘fine’. Some orders below also demand money for compensation to be paid to landmine victims and others who have been wounded or killed while doing forced labour for SPDC troops. While this may appear humanitarian at first, such compensation should clearly be paid by the SPDC, not demanded from the local villages which supplied the forced labour under pain of punishment in the first place. Furthermore, Order #T55 demands 100 Kyat from each family in all the villages to pay for a funeral, though there is no way that the funeral could cost so much; chances are that the excess will not be given to the victim’s family but will be kept by the local authorities.

For more information on the situation in Toungoo District see KHRG Information Update #98-U5, "Continuing Hardships for Villagers in Northern Karen Districts", and a full KHRG report on the subject to be released soon.

 

Restrictions on Villages

Order #T1*

                                                    Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village - Than Daung Township
                                                    Ref: / Security / Ba Ga La (98)
                                                    Date: January 6, 1998

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village

Subject:   To obey the orders issued by the local Battalion

Regarding the above subject, in accordance with the official instructions sent today, 6-1-98 at 8 o’clock in the morning, to the office of the Village Tract Peace and Development Council by the Battalion Commander of #39 Infantry Battalion, the following orders are issued for security reasons and all villages in Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract must obey these orders.

(1) All villagers must sleep in the village at night and must not sleep in any gardens / fields outside the village.

(2) Everyone must ask permission from the village authorities in order to travel to other places such as Toungoo, and must go only when the authorities have registered them and given permission.

(3) The family lists will be checked in all villages, and if someone is not sleeping at home at night when the family lists are checked by the authorities, he will be regarded as one who has contact with insurgents and appropriate action will be taken.

(4) It is confirmed that these orders take effect from 6-1-98, the date of their issue.

Therefore, you are informed to announce these orders to the people of your village so that they will know and obey these orders.

                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                        Chairperson

                                                   Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

Copy to: - The Battalion Commander
                #39 Infantry Battalion at Baw Ga Li Gyi village

[This order makes life very difficult for villagers in the cropping season, when it is necessary to stay in their fields which may be far from the village. For those regarded as having ‘contact with insurgents’, ‘appropriate action’ means arrest, interrogation under torture, and often summary execution.]

 

 

Forced Labour on Roads

Order #T2

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                  Stamp:
        xxxx village                                       Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

                                                            Peace and Development Council
                                                                    Than Daung Township

                                                                                               Date:   11-5-98

Subject:   Voluntary labour for construction of the Toungoo - Mawchi road

Regarding the above subject, through the Toungoo - Mawchi Frontline Road Construction Unit, #48 Infantry Battalion from Baw Ga Li Gyi Base asks all villages in the area of Baw Ga Li Gyi village tract to provide a total of 20 voluntary labourers and rotate them every 5 days, so you are informed that the Chairperson / Secretary must send xx voluntary labourers to Baw Ga Li Gyi Base on (12-5-98) with their food for 5 days.

Note:   [blank]

                                                                           [Sd.]
                                                                   (for) Chairperson

                                                Village Tract Peace and Development Council    
                                             Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[Forced labour constructing the main part of the Toungoo-Mawchi road, which runs over 100 kilometres from Pegu Division to Karenni (Kayah) State, began in early 1998 and is not yet completed. The road is to pass through remote and very rugged forested terrain for almost its entire length. See also Orders #T3 and T4.]

 

Order #T3*

                                                                                   Stamp:
To:   Chairperson / Secretary                             Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 
        xxxx village                                           Peace and Development Council
                                                                           Than Daung Township

Date:   11-5-98

Subject:   Voluntary labour for construction of Toungoo - Mawchi road

Regarding the above-mentioned subject, #48 Infantry Battalion from Baw Ga Li Gyi base have asked for voluntary labour through the Toungoo - Mawchi Frontline Road Construction Unit. Therefore the Chairperson / Secretary are informed to send voluntary servants, according to the quotas assigned to each village in the list below, to Baw Ga Li Gyi base on 12-5-98 at 7 o’clock in the morning with their food for 3 days.

The more people the road construction unit gets, the fewer days they will have to spend to finish the work, so the total number of (20) persons previously specified has been replaced by the newly fixed total of (40). In accordance with the instructions of the Battalion, you are notified that you must send the voluntary labourers as specified and apportioned to each village without fail (without fail) and it will be entirely the responsibility of your village if you fail.

(1) vvvv     village voluntary servants    (20) persons
(2) wwww                       "                  ( 2) persons
(3) xxxx                          "                  (10) persons
(4) yyyy                          "                  ( 3) persons
(5) zzzz                          "                  ( 5) persons
_______________________________________________
                                                 Total (40) persons

                                                                     (for) Chairperson
                                                  Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                               Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T4

            Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion                    To:   Chairperson
Column #1 Headquarters                         xxxx village

Subject:   Summoning voluntary labour

1. The Mawchi - Baw Ga Li Gyi car road is for the development of the local area. The road construction causes no one any trouble or difficulty, and the intention of the road construction is to make transportation and communication easy. Therefore, make sure there are no landmines and no ambushes at the road construction site or along the old car road. If there are any landmines or ambushes, the road construction must be carried out by the people of the village.

2. Therefore, you are informed that you must send (xx) voluntary labourers in turns [on a rotating basis] for the road construction to Baw Ga Li Gyi on 26-5-98 at (0800) hours.

                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                                    (for) Intelligence Officer
                                                                      #xxx Infantry Battalion

[This is referring to the Toungoo-Mawchi road; a road already exists from Toungoo to Baw Ga Li Gyi, so the main work is being done on the Baw Ga Li Gyi to Mawchi section, which makes up well over half of the road’s length of over 100 kilometres. As the order demonstrates, forced labour is being used regardless of whether or not there are landmines or ambushes, and the construction is definitely causing people some trouble. Not only is there forced labour, but many farmers with fields along the road route didn’t dare plant a crop in 1998 because they were afraid of being grabbed for labour by the soldiers along the road.]

 

 

Order #T5

 

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village                                                                      Date:   5-7-98

 

Subject:   Voluntary labour on Paleh Wah - Baw Ga Li road

 

According to the instruction of the Battalion Commander from xxxx Camp, to repair the damaged parts of the road between Paleh Wah and Baw Ga Li, xx servants from your village must come to xxxx[village] bringing with them the following items and wait there. We will go by vehicle to repair the road.

 

(1) Hoes                                                                                       [Sd.]
(2) Saws                                                                                     Sawxxxx
(3) Machetes                                                                             Chairperson
(4) Spades                                                                                     VPDC
                                                                                                    xxxx

 

[This is the existing road from Baw Ga Li Gyi westward to Toungoo.]

 

Order #T6

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village 3-12-97

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers for road construction

The local battalion from Baw Ga Li Gyi Base has asked for voluntary labourers for the road construction as follows, and so you are informed that you can comply by sending the voluntary labourers (or) collecting the fees for the voluntary labour. The Chairperson (or) the Secretary himself must come (or) bring the voluntary labourers / send the fees on (4-12-97) according to the following list.


(1)
(3)
(5)
(7)
(9)
2 persons
2 persons
1 person
2 persons
1 person
8,000 kyats
3,500 kyats
2,500 kyats
4,500 kyats
2,500 kyats
(2) Baw Ga Li Lay
(4) Kyauk Pon
(6) Ku Pyaung
(8) Meh Kyaw
(10) Yay Tho Lay
1 person
1 person
1 person
1 person
1 person
2,000 kyats
2,000 kyats
2,500 kyats
2,000 kyats
1,500 kyats

Those villages which have not submitted their population list as requested by the authorities must make the list and send it as soon as possible.

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                        (for) Chairperson

                                                     Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                 Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This order relates to forced labour on the road from Baw Ga Li Gyi either to Bu Sah Kee or to Toungoo.]

 

 

Portering and Other Forced Labour

Order #T7*

               Stamp:
Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

To:   Chairperson
        [blank] village                                                                    Date: 11-9-98

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers

In accordance with the instructions of the Battalion Commander of #xxx IB at xxxx Base, you are informed that you must collect one voluntary labourer per house from your village and send them with their own food for 4 days; they will have to transport food [carry rations as porters] from Yay Tho Gyi to Maung Daing Gyi Camp and they must come without fail.

Send them right now.

                                                                                          [Sd. /Lt.]
                                                                                    Intelligence Officer
                                                                                       xxxx, Lt. xxxx
                                                                             Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

[This was carbon copied and sent to several villages, some with the village name left blank.]

 

Order #T8

To:   Chairperson
        xxxx [village]

Subject:   To send the voluntary labourers to Maung Daing Gyi village

Regarding the above subject, the numbers of voluntary labourers to transport the food to Maung Daing Gyi Camp are assigned to Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract as follows:

(A) wwww [village]     (10) persons
(B) xxxx                     ( 5 ) persons
(C) yyyy                     ( 5 ) persons
(D) zzzz                     ( 5 ) persons

You Chairpersons yourselves must bring them to xxxx Camp on the 17th at 6 o’clock.

                                                                               [Sd./ xxxx / Lt. Col.]
                                                                                 Column Commander
                                                                           Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

At the same time, the meeting of the Chairpersons will be held.

[This is a demand for porters to carry rations from the roadhead to an Army camp. It was copied and sent to several villages.]

 

Order #T9

       Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion                                                                        10/9/98
       xxxx [town]

To:   Chairperson
        xxxx village

Subject:   To send (8) voluntary labourers

Regarding the above subject, we cannot hire any servants from Toungoo so you are informed to bring (eight) voluntary labourers to xxxx on September 11 at 6 o’clock in the morning.

You yourself must bring them.

                                                                                       [Sd. /Lt./ 10/9/98]
                                                                                       Intelligence Officer
                                                                                           xxxx, Lt.xxxx
                                                                                Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

Note: Take the letter to yyyy village right now.

            [Sd./ 10/9/98]

[In this particular village tract, the normal practice is for the Village Tract PDC to hire labourers for the Army and then force the villagers to pay the cost (see summary notes on Toungoo District above); however, the villagers are also often called for forced labour when the Army can’t be bothered to go through this procedure, as this order shows. The note at the bottom probably refers to a copy of this order enclosed for another village. Orders #T10 and T11 below were received at the same time by other villages.]

 

Order #T10

                                                            Stamp:
To:   Chairperson                          #xxx Infantry Battalion
        xxxx [village]                             xxxx [town]                          Date: 10/9/98

Subject:   To send (5) voluntary labourers

Regarding the above subject, we cannot hire any servants from Toungoo so you are informed that you yourself must send (five) voluntary labourers to xxxx on September 11th at 6 o’clock in the morning.

                                                                             [Sd. /Lt./ 10/9/98]
                                                                             Intelligence Officer
                                                                                 xxxx, Lt. xxxx
                                                                       Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #T11

                                                            Stamp:
To:   Chairperson                          #xxx Infantry Battalion                     10/9/98
        xxxx                                          [village] xxxx

Subject:   To send 5 voluntary labourers

Regarding the above subject, we cannot collect any servants, so you are informed that you yourself must come and bring (five) voluntary labourers to xxxx on September 11 at 6 o’clock in the morning.

                                                                              [Sd. / Lt. / 10/9/98]
                                                                               Intelligence Officer
                                                                                  xxxx, Lt. xxxx
                                                                      Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #T12

xxxx village elder

I have heard about a tree falling between xxxx and yyyy, so tomorrow please order 5 of your villagers and some of us will also go and do [clear] it together.

                                                                        Thankfully,

                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                                    xxxx
                                                                                 xxxx village

[Note: This order is written in Karen, from the village tract PDC chairman to a village elder. This type of work, not work for the Army, is what ‘loh ah pay’ really means in Burma; however, in real ‘loh ah pay’ the village elder would not ‘order’ 5 villagers, he would ask for 5 volunteers. This order reflects on the way that SPDC forced labour is not ‘loh ah pay’, but even more so on how their use of force is creeping into and corrupting what used to be voluntary work by villagers within their community.]

 

Order #T13

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                         Stamp:
        xxxx village                                             Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 
                                                                  Peace and Development Council
                                                                           Than Daung Township

Date:   22-4-98

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers

The Battalion Commander of #xxx IB at xxxx Base asks (xx) voluntary labourers from your village and so you, the Chairperson yourself, must come and bring them.

You are informed that if you cannot send them, you must hire the labourers by yourself through Ko xxxxat Baw Ga Li Gyi village. Bring the fees for the labourers along with you and come without fail.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                               (for) Chairperson
                                                           Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                      Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[Ko xxxx is most likely an agent who supplies people willing to do forced labour for money. It appears that he is frequently used by the Village Tract authorities to obtain labourers to fill the military’s demands, as his name appears in several orders.]

 

Order #T14

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                           Stamp:
        xxxx village                                                Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 
                                                                      Peace and Development Council
                                                                             Than Daung Township

Date:   19-4-98

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers

The Battalion Commander of #48 IB at Baw Ga Li Gyi Base is asking for voluntary labourers from the villages in Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, so you are informed to send xx voluntary labourers with their own food for 5 days to Baw Ga Li Gyi Base on (22-4-98), Wednesday, at 9 o’clock in the morning without fail (without fail).

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                            (for) Chairperson
                                                         Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                      Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T15

To:   Chairperson                                                       Stamp:
        xxxx village                                           Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 
                                                                 Peace and Development Council
                                                                        Than Daung Township

Date:   23-2-98

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers to Baw Ga Li Gyi on (24-2-98) 
               at 5 o’clock in the morning

You are informed to send the voluntary labourers to Baw Ga Li Gyi on (24-2-98) at 5 o’clock in the morning. The full quota of people must be sent in accordance with the instructions of Baw Ga Li Gyi Camp issued on (23-2-98) at 7 o’clock at night.

Note:   You must not fail.

                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                         (for) Chairperson
                                                   Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T16

               Stamp:                                         Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion
Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion                      Temporarily at xxxx Camp
             Column #1                                       Command Ref:   1000 / xxx / Oo-1
                                                                   Date:    January 6, 1998

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        (xxxx) village

Subject:   To bring 5 voluntary labourers

You are informed that you yourself must bring 5 voluntary labourers to xxxx Camp on 6-1-98 at 3 o’clock in the evening without fail (without fail), and if you fail to comply, it will be entirely your own and your village’s responsibility.

                                                                               [Sd. / 2nd. Lt.]
                                                                       (for) Battalion Commander

 

Order #T17

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                               Stamp:
        xxxx village                                   Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

                                                         Peace and Development Council
                                                                Than Daung Township

Date:   10-12-97

Subject:   To send the voluntary labourers we requested

Collecting the exact number of labourers we asked for on (9-12-97), you yourself must bring the voluntary labourers today, (10-12-97), at 10 o’clock in the morning without fail. The reason for asking them to bring their own food for 4 days is that they must go along with the troops up to Si Kheh Der.

(Therefore, you must comply without fail, and if you fail, it will be entirely your responsibility. If the local troops arrive at your village, you will face the same fate as Za Ba Ji and Meh Kyaw villages and we will not take responsibility for you.)

                                                                                  [Sd.]
                                                                         (for) Chairperson

                                                        Village Tract Peace and Development Council    
                                                    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[The villagers sent are to be used for forced labour going along as porters for a military column heading to Si Kheh Der. KHRG has been unable to confirm what was the ‘fate’ of the 2 villages mentioned who failed to obey an order at the end of 1997, though it may have included the arrest of village elders or the burning of houses.]

 

Order #T18

                                                                                                        9-12-97

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                          Stamp:
        xxxx [village]                                             Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

                                                                     Peace and Development Council
                                                                           Than Daung Township

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers

Regarding the above subject, in accordance with the instructions of the Battalion Commander of #39 IB, you are informed to send voluntary labourers according to this apportionment.

(1) uuuu [village]     (30) persons                  (6) zzzz [village]     (12) persons
(2) vvvv                   (20) persons
(3) wwww                 (10) persons
(4) xxxx                   (10) persons
(5) yyyy                   (10) persons

As mentioned above, this is to notify [you] that the Chairperson and the Secretary themselves must bring the voluntary labourers with their own food for 4 days on (10-12-97), Wednesday, at 9 o’clock in the morning without fail.

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                     (for) Chairperson

                                                  Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                             Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township   

 

Order #T19

                                                                                   Stamp:
To:   Chairperson / Secretary                       Law & Order Restoration Council 

        xxxx village                                            Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract

                                                                                                Date: 16-11-97

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers

In accordance with the instructions of the Battalion Commander of #39 IB to convey food [carry Army rations] from Yay Tho Gyi to Si Kheh Der, you are informed that you yourself must come and bring xxvoluntary labourers from your village with their own food for 2 days to Baw Ga Li Gyi on (18-11-97) at 7 o’clock in the morning, and if you fail it will be entirely your responsibility.

Note: It is only loh ah pay [‘voluntary labour’].

                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                                             Secretary

                                                     Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                                    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[In this context ‘It is only loh ah pay’ means that it is to be short-term forced labour (in this case portering) as opposed to longer-term forced labour, which is usually referred to more specifically as ‘frontline operations servants’, ‘voluntary road labour’, etc.]

 

Order #T20

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village                                                                      Date: 16-11-97

Subject:   To send 7 voluntary labourers

In accordance with the instructions of the Battalion Commander of #39 IB sent today, (16-11-97), for voluntary labour [portering] from Yay Tho Gyi to Si Kheh Der village, you yourself must bring xxvoluntary labourers with their own food for 2 days on (18-11-97), Tuesday, at 7 o’clock in the morning, and if you fail it will be entirely your responsibility. I confirm that the labourers will be used only for loh ah pay.

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                            Secretary

                                                    Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                 Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[In this context ‘only for loh ah pay’ means that it is to be short-term forced labour (in this case portering) as opposed to longer-term forced labour, which is usually referred to more specifically as ‘frontline operations servants’, ‘voluntary road labour’, etc.]

 

Order #T21

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                          Stamp:
        xxxx village                                         Law and Order Restoration Council

                                                                        Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract

                                                                                                  Date:    24-10-97

Subject:   Voluntary labour to convey food

In accordance with the instructions of the Battalion Commander of #39 IB, all villages around Baw Ga Li Gyi must send voluntary labourers to convey food [carry Army rations] from Yay Tho Gyi to Bu Sah Kee, so (xx) voluntary labourers from your village must be sent to Baw Ga Li Gyi on 27-10-97 at 7 o’clock in the morning and they must bring their own food for 3 days. We will leave for Yay Tho Gyi after the labourers from all villages arrive at Baw Ga Li Gyi. You are informed to send the labourers in the specified number and on the specified date without fail.

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                            Secretary

                                                  Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                                 Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[Copies of this order were sent to several villages, each ordered to send different numbers of forced labourers.]

 

Order #T22

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                          Stamp:
        xxxx village                                         Law and Order Restoration Council

                                                                       Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract

                                                                                                     Date: 12-9-97

Subject:   To send operation servants

Regarding the above subject, #73 IB from Baw Ga Li Gyi Base has summoned operations servants from all villages for 17-9-97, but the number of servants was not specified. Villages can either send the servants from the village (or) hire the servants from Toungoo. We want to know how your village plans to get the servants, so you are informed that you, the Chairperson, yourself must reply to the Chairperson of Baw Ga Li Gyi on 16-9-97, the date of sending bamboo shoots and spikes, without fail, and must bring the remainder of the previous servants’ fees along with you.

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                  Secretary

                                                      Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                                    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[‘Operation servants’ means forced labour porters who might be taken to the frontline for weeks or months. ‘The date of sending bamboo shoots and spikes’ refers to the demand in Order #T62.]

 

Order #T23*

                                                                 Stamp:
To:   Chairperson / Secretary       Law and Order Restoration Council

        xxxx village                              Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract       Date: 30-8-97

Subject:   To send the specified voluntary labourers we requested to convey food 
               as immediately as possible (as immediately as possible)

Reference:   The decision made by the meeting of all villages on 26-8-97

(1) Regarding the above reference, at the meeting of all villages on 26-8-97 the quota of voluntary labourers for each village, bringing their own food for 4 days to convey food [carry Army rations] from Maung Daing Gyi to Bu Sah Kee, was agreed by all Chairpersons and Secretaries, but your village did not send the voluntary labourers on the specified date of 29-8-97.

(2) On 29-8-97, #73 IB summoned your village to send the voluntary labourers as soon as possible, and your village failed again.

(3) Therefore, the local Battalion informs you that as soon as you receive this letter, you, the village authorities, the Chairperson and the Secretary, must send xx voluntary labourers to the specified gathering place at Baw Ga Li Gyi / Yay Tho Gyi to convey food according to the quota as immediately as possible (as immediately as possible).

(4) Villages which fail to send the voluntary labourers will have severe action taken against them. The Chairperson and the Secretary themselves must come and bring the voluntary labourers.

(5) You, Chairperson / Secretary, are informed that motor vehicles from your village are not allowed to travel starting from 30-8-97 because your village has failed to send voluntary labourers. If there is a similar failure in future, appropriate action will be taken against you.

                                                                                  [Sd.]
                                                                               Secretary

                                                    Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council    
                                                  Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

Note: Since 1 more voluntary labourer is needed, send one more.

[At the time of this order, a road from Baw Ga Li Gyi to Bu Sah Kee had already been completed using forced labour, but this order was issued during rainy season, when it is not passable. As a result villagers still have to go as porters, then after each rainy season they are forced to rebuild the road.]

 

Order #T24

             Stamp:
  #73 Infantry Battalion            To:    Chairperson                          Date: 29-8-97

Column #1 Headquarters                  xxxx village

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers

Regarding the above subject, in accordance with the decision of the meeting held on August 26th ‘97, you are informed that your village must send voluntary labourers today without fail in the specified number, and if you fail it will be entirely your responsibility.

Note: The Chairperson himself must come and bring the labourers.

                                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                            (for) Column Commander

 

Order #T25

                  Stamp:
Law and Order Restoration Council

      Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village Date: 27-8-97

Subject:   Voluntary labour to transport food [carry rations] from Maung Daing Gyi to
               Bu Sah Kee

The number of voluntary labourers from each village to transport food was specified at the meeting of the Deputy Battalion Commander of #73 IB of Baw Ga Li Gyi Base and the Chairpeople / Secretaries from all villages held on (26-8-97), and the meeting made a decision that [the forced labourers of] some villages must gather at Yay Tho Gyi and the others at Baw Ga Li Gyi.

In accordance with the instructions of the Deputy Battalion Commander of #73 IB at Baw Ga Li Gyi Base on (27-8-97), after gathering at the specified place, each group of voluntary labourers must come to gather at Yay Tho Gyi Base on (29-8-97). The villages to gather at Yay Tho Gyi village must come on (29-8-97) by 12 o’clock noon, and the villages to gather at Baw Ga Li Gyi village must come on (29-8-97) by 6 o’clock in the morning. After gathering at Baw Ga Li Gyi village, all villagers must arrive at Yay Tho Gyi by 12 o’clock noon.

You are informed that you must bring two copies of the voluntary labourers’ list. The group to gather at Yay Tho Gyi must bring a [second] copy of the voluntary labourers’ list for Baw Ga Li Gyi Base.

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                        (for) Chairperson

                                                      Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                                   Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[In a very convoluted way, what this order is saying that at the meeting on 26 August the Battalion gave orders for forced labourers from the villages to gather in 2 groups, at Baw Ga Li Gyi and Yay Tho Gyi, on 29 August. The Baw Ga Li Gyi group must gather by 6 a.m. so they can proceed to join the other group at Yay Tho Gyi by noon. Both groups must bring 2 copies of the labourer list to be sent to Baw Ga Li Gyi (probably 1 for the Army camp and one for the PDC office). The whole group will then proceed to carry rations from Maung Daing Gyi to Bu Sah Kee.]

 

Order #T26

                  Stamp:
Law and Order Restoration Council       To:    Chairperson / Secretary

    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract                        [blank] village                Date: 24-8-97

Subject:   To send the voluntary labourers again to transport food [rations]

Your village did not comply with the order to send voluntary labourers to transport food, so one person from each family from your village must come and gather at Baw Ga Li Gyi on 24-8-97, Sunday, today, at 7 o’clock at night, in accordance with the instructions of the Deputy Battalion Commander of #73 IB at Baw Ga Li Gyi Base.

Then they must wake up in the early morning on 25-8-97 to depart. [They must spend the night at the Base and then leave early morning with the Column as porters.]

You, the Chairperson and the Secretary, yourself come and report the progress of collecting the voluntary labourers.

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                       (for) Chairperson

                                                   Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                                 Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T27*

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village                                                                      Date: 21-8-97

Subject:   To send the voluntary labourers to transport food [Army rations] from
               Yay Tho Gyi to Maung Daing Gyi

The Deputy Battalion Commander of #73 IB at Baw Ga Li Gyi Base summoned the Chairperson of Baw Ga Li Gyi village on (21-8-97) at 9 o’clock in the morning and assigned the Chairperson to send one person from each family in all villages to transport the remaining food from Yay Tho Gyi to Maung Daing Gyi. You, the Chairpersons and the Secretaries of the villages, must gather the voluntary labourers to transport the food and send them to Baw Ga Li Gyi village without fail (without fail) as soon as you receive this letter. They must bring their own food for 5 days. The Chairpersons and Secretaries themselves must bring them. You must be informed that the villages which ignore this summons and do not respect this order will have appropriate action taken against them. You are informed that the assignment to transport the food at Yay Tho Gyi Base has been specified for each village, and the villages which do not accomplish their duty will be driven to carry out their task by all means until they fully accomplish their duties.

Therefore, all villages must gather the labourers as soon as this letter is received and must bring the necessary things. You are informed that all of the Chairpersons and the Secretaries must supervise in order to get one person from each family and send them.

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                           Chairperson

                                                 Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                               Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T28

                 Stamp:                                                                             19-8-97
Law and Order Restoration Council      To:   Chairperson / Secretary
     Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract                    xxxx village

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers

Regarding the above subject, in accordance with the instructions of Advance #73 [Infantry] Battalion, you are informed to send (xx) voluntary labourers.

With their own food for one day.
Baw Ga Li group [village tract] must send (80) persons. Come tonight.

                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                                     (for) Chairperson

                                                Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                              Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T29

                    Stamp:
Law and Order Restoration Council

     Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                                     Date: 19-8-97
        xxxx village

Subject:   To send the voluntary labourers again

Regarding the above subject, the Yay Tho Gyi Base informed the Baw Ga Li Gyi Base that the voluntary labour group sent from all villages to transport food [Army rations] from Yay Tho Gyi to Maung Daing Gyi did not accomplish their duty according to the apportionments and they went back to their villages, so the Deputy Battalion Commander at Baw Ga Li Gyi Base summoned the Chairperson of Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract and instructed him as follows.

All villages must get one person from each family in the village for voluntary labour and send them to Baw Ga Li Gyi on (28-8-97), Wednesday, at 12 o’clock noon. If the villages fail to comply, appropriate action will be taken. After arriving at Baw Ga Li Gyi at 12 o’clock noon, all must proceed to Yay Tho Gyi.

Therefore, you are informed that all villages must send the voluntary labourers again to transport the food.

                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                       Chairperson

                                                Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                              Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

 

 

 

Order #T30

         Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion                                                                           11-8-97

Column #1 Headquarters

To:   Chairperson
        xxxx village

You are informed that you, the Chairperson, yourself must come and bring the voluntary labourers as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                               A[dvance] #xxx IB, C[olumn] #1

 

Order #T31

To:   Chairperson 9-8-97
        xxxx village

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers

Regarding the above subject, the Deputy Battalion Commander of #73 [Infantry Battalion] summons (260) persons for voluntary labour to convey food [Army rations], so you are informed that (xx) from your village must be sent to Baw Ga Li Gyi Base without fail (without fail) on 11-8-97, Monday, at 6 o’clock in the morning.


1. Baw Ga Li Gyi
2. Baw Ga Li Lay
3. Kyauk Pon
4. Thit Say Taung
5. Pyaung Tho
6. Ku Pyaung
7. Za Ba Ji
8. Meh Kyaw
9. Doh Der
10. Yay Tho Lay
(80) persons
(10) persons
(10) persons
(45) persons
(10) persons
(10) persons
(50) persons
(10) persons
(10) persons
( 7) persons

                                                                            [Sd.]
                                                                         Secretary

                                               Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                             Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This is a typewritten order copied and sent to all villages, with the village name and number to send written in the blanks. ‘Any male or female can go’ was handwritten as an added note.]

 

Order #T32

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village                                                                     Date: 13-7-97

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers according to the apportionments

On 13-7-97 at 7 o’clock in the morning, the Battalion Commander of #73 IB from Baw Ga Li Gyi Base summoned voluntary labourers from all villages to convey food [carry Army rations] from Yay Tho Gyi to Maung Daing Gyi, so you are informed that you, Chairperson / Secretary, yourself must come and bring the voluntary labourers with their own food for 3 days to Baw Ga Li Gyi on 13-7-97 in the evening after gathering the males/females for the voluntary labour according to the quota as soon as you receive this letter on 13-7-97.

The list of voluntary labourers for each village


1. Baw Ga Li Gyi
2. Thit Say Taung
3. Baw Ga Li Lay
4. Kyauk Pon
5. Za Ba Ji
6. Meh Kyaw
7. Doh Der
8. Ku Pyaung
9. Pyaung Tho
(50) persons
(20) persons
(10) persons
( 5 ) persons
(30) persons
(10) persons
(15) persons
(15) persons
(15) persons

Note: Come today (or) tomorrow at 6 o’clock in the morning. If possible, come today without fail (without fail).

                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                                        Chairperson

                                                Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                              Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T33

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village                                                                      Date: 9-7-97

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers

In accordance with the instructions of the Battalion Commander of #73 IB on 7-7-97, you are informed that you, the Chairperson, yourself must come and bring the voluntary labourers on 10-7-97 at 7 o’clock in the morning as shown in the following quota list for each village.


Baw Ga Li Gyi
Kyauk Pon
Ku Pyaung
Za Ba Ji
Doh Der
( 9 ) persons
( 1 ) person
( 2 ) persons
( 5 ) persons
( 2 ) persons
Baw Ga Li Lay
Thit Say Taung
Pyaung Tho
Meh Kyaw
( 2 ) persons
( 5 ) persons
( 2 ) persons
( 2 ) persons

                                                                              [Sd.]
                                                                     (for) Chairperson

                                                  Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                                 Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T34

Stamp:
Law and Order Restoration Council

Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract

To:   Chairperson                                                                          Date: 30-6-97
        xxxx [village]

Subject:   To send operation servants

Regarding the above subject, you must send the servants we summoned from your village as soon as you receive this letter. Baw Ga Li Gyi village has sent females as well [as males], so if there are no males available in the village you can send females.

The Battalion Commander says that if you fail to comply with the order, it will be entirely your responsibility.

                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                                    (for) Chairperson

                                               Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                             Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[‘Operation servants’ are long-term frontline porters.]

 

Order #T35

Stamp:
Law and Order Restoration Council

Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        Village Law and Order Restoration Council
        xxxx village                                                                    Date: 28-6-97

Subject:   To send voluntary labourers

On 28-6-97 #73 Infantry Battalion of Baw Ga Li Gyi Base asked for voluntary labourers, so in accordance with the instructions of the Battalion you are informed that you, Chairperson / Secretary, yourself must come and bring the voluntary labourers with their own food for 5 days to #73 Infantry Battalion of Baw Ga Li Gyi Base on 29-6-97, Sunday, at 7 o’clock in the morning without fail (without fail), bringing the specified number of labourers as shown in the following list.

It is loh ah pay [short-term ‘voluntary’ labour] to transport food [Army rations].

The list of voluntary labourers for each village


1. Baw Ga Li Gyi
2. Baw Ga Li Lay
3. Kyauk Pon
4. Thit Say Taung
5. Pyaung Tho
6. Ku Pyaung
7. Za Ba Ji
8. Doh Der
9. Meh Kyaw
(20) persons
( 5 ) persons
( 5 ) persons
(10) persons
( 5 ) persons
( 5 ) persons
(10) persons
( 5 ) persons
( 5 ) persons

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                     (for) Chairperson

                                                Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                               Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Demands for ‘Servant Fees’

 

Order #T36*

To:   Chairperson
        xxxx [village]

Subject:   To pay servants’ fees

1. Regarding the above subject, you are informed that this is the last warning for you to come and pay the servants’ fees for the month of September today, 19/9/98.

2. If you fail, we will not take responsibility for you for any reason.

        (xx,xxx K[kyats])

                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                                   (for) Column Commander

[‘We will not take responsibility for you’ means they will not be accountable if they decide to arrest the village head or burn the village.]

 

Order #T37*

                  Stamp:
   Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

Peace and Development Council
       Than Daung Township

To:   Chairperson/Secretary
        xxxx village Date: 16-9-98

Subject:   To collect and pay the fees for the servants hired for the month of 9/98 
               and the remainder for the month of 8/98

1. The total number of servants hired for the month of 9/98 is as follows:


(A)
(B)

(C)

(D)
(E)

Strategic Command #2
IB #48

Convoy to Bu Sah Kee
(Captain Than Myint)
IB #35 (Capt. Soe Naing Tun)
IB #30, hired reserve servants
             Total -----------------------

30 - persons
5 - persons
13 - persons
15 - persons

13 - persons
15 - persons
91 - persons

   4,000 kyats [per person]
   4,000 kyats

   4,250 kyats
   4,250 kyats

   4,250 kyats
   4,250 kyats

2. You are informed that the villages that remain to pay the fees for the month of 9/98 and the balance for the month of 8/98 are as follows, that the authorities of the villages must collect [the money] as soon as possible, and that if they fail to send the fees, Baw Ga Li Gyi village will not be responsible for hiring the servants collectively for other villages and these villages will have to hire the servants themselves. [i.e. if the villages pay the fees to the Baw Ga Li village tract PDC then the PDC will handle things with the Army; otherwise, the villages will have to send or hire forced labourers themselves to meet the Army’s demands.]


(A) vvvv [village]
(B) wwww

(C) xxxx
(D) yyyy
(E) zzzz

53 x 4,000 + 8,600
6 x 4,000 + 600
balance for 8/98
6 x 4,000 + 600
8 x 4,000 + 1,500
18 x 4,000 + 3,000
balance for 8/98

   220,600 [kyats]
   24,600
   25,550 (total 50,150 kyats)
   24,600
   33,500
   75,000

   36,040 (total 111,040 kyats)

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                            Chairperson

                                                    Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[For a full explanation of the system of ‘servants’ fees’ in Baw Ga Li Gyi village tract, see the summary notes on Toungoo District above. Often when the military in the area demands forced labourers from the village tract, the village tract PDC hires the labourers in Toungoo and then forces the villages each to pay the cost for hiring a certain number of them. The amounts demanded in the above list are the (number of porters) x (4,000 per porter) + an unexplained sum, which may be the ‘car fees’ for transporting the porters.]

 

Order #T38

              Stamp:                                     Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion
Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion                 xxxx Camp
                                                              Ref. No. Ya Hta-30/Wa Hta/Oo-1
                                                              Date:    September 4, 1998

To:   Chairperson
        xxxx village

Subject:   Informing [you] to pay the servants’ fees as soon as possible

1. Baw Ga Li Gyi village tract is hiring and sending operations servants. And I have learned that Baw Ga Li Gyi village has extracted some money from its village fund to pay the servants’ fees on behalf of your village in order to smooth the work flow, because your village is too late in paying the monthly fees.

2. Therefore, you are informed to pay the servants’ fees for your village as soon as possible to the Chairperson of Baw Ga Li Gyi [village] and no later than September 5, since the work flow will be smooth only if you pay the servants’ fees not later than the 5th of every month.

                                                                                [Sd. /Lt.]
                                                                         Intelligence Officer
                                                                           xxxx, Lt. xxxx
                                                               Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

[The villages of this village tract are being forced to send forced labourers and also to pay ‘fees’ so that the village tract authorities can hire additional labourers for the Army. This order is a warning to one of the smaller villages in the tract to pay their fees, because they have not been paying and the central village of the tract has been covering by paying for them.]

 

Order #T39

xxxx [village] -    The balance of 7/98          Fees for 8/98           Total
     xx-9-98                     xx,xxx              +          xx,xxx          =    xx,xxx

Outstanding for servants’ fees - xx,xxx/
          Amount paid [already] - xx,xxx
          Balance -                      xx,xxx

The total of xx,xxx kyats for servants’ fees was received on xx-9-98.

              Stamp:
   Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract                                      [Sd.]

Peace and Development Council                              Chairperson
    Than Daung Township                  Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                  Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This is a receipt from the village tract PDC issued to a village which has just paid xx,xxx kyats toward the cost of hiring labourers to fill the military’s forced labour demands.]

 

Order #T40*

To:   Chairperson/Secretary
        xxxx village                                                                    Date:   24-8-98

Subject:   To come and pay the fees for the servants hired for the month of 8/98 
               and the remaining fees for the servants hired for the month of 7/98

Regarding the above-mentioned subject, the fees for (80) servants hired and sent for the month of (8/98) are as mentioned below, and you are informed that the villages which have to pay the remaining fees for the servants hired for the month of (7/98) must come and pay the fees.

The Chairperson / Secretary are not able to pay all the fees according to the distribution specified by the Supervising Body of Servant Hiring in Baw Ga Li Gyi village tract. Therefore, this is to notify [you] that you, Chairperson / Secretary of the village, must inform us if you would like to hire the servants by yourself, or you must come regularly and pay all the fees if you would like to hire the servants along with all villages collectively.


No. Description Amount Remarks

1/
2/
3/
4/
5/
6/

servants currently with #26 IB
                 "                 #39 IB 
                 "                  Strategic Command
servants sent from the old            "
[servants currently with] G.E.
extra servants hired by #30 IB

14 persons
10 persons

13 persons
4 persons
15 persons

  8/98, currently
         ditto
         ditto
         ditto
         ditto
   

80 persons

 

[Note: ‘G.E.’ is the General Engineering Corps of the Army.]

The fees to be paid by the villages and the remaining fees for the previous month


 

8/98

7/98 balance

Total

1. vvvv [village]
2. wwww
3. xxxx
4. yyyy
5. zzzz

50 persons                
6 persons (24,780 K)
6 persons (24,780 K)
18 persons (74,340 K)
8 persons (33,040 K)

-          
5,600 K    
750 K    
11,700 K    
18,000 K   

206,500 K [Kyat]
30,380 K
25,550 K
86,040 K
51,040 K

The fees for the extra servants hired includes 250 kyats for the car fee [cost to transport the ‘servants’ to where they’re needed] collected according to the total number of houses in the villages.

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                           Chairperson

                                                   Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This is a carbon-copied order sent to several villages, demanding the balance due on the July 1998 ‘fees’ and the full amount of the August 1998 ‘fees’. These ‘fees’ add up to the amount which the village tract authorities have spent to hire labourers to fill the military’s demands for forced labour. Most villages do not have the money to pay this much, become delinquent in their payments and may eventually face military punishments such as the burning of houses or the arrest of elders. If the village cannot pay they must ‘hire the servants by themselves’, i.e. send the specified number of additional labourers - though they may be arrested if they try to do this, because it is really the money that the officials and officers want.]

 

Order #T41

Receipt

                                                                                Date: xx-8-98 [sic: xx-9-98]

The servants’ fees for the month of 8/98 for xxxx village are (xx,xxx K[kyats]) and the first installment, (xx,xxx K), was already paid. The remainder, (xx,xxx K), was paid today and has been received.

The remainder, (xx,xxx K), was received today, xx-9-98.

                Stamp:
    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract                                       [Sd.]

Peace and Development Council                               Chairperson
      Than Daung Township                 Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                   Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T42

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village                                                                          Date:   20-7-98

Subject:   To collect and send the monthly servants’ fees for the month of (7/98)

You are informed that there are in total 70 servants hired for the month of (7/98) and you must collect the servants’ fees according to the list below.


1. vvvv [village]
2. wwww
3. xxxx
4. yyyy
5. zzzz

41 persons
3 persons
16 persons
4 persons
6 persons

You must collect 4,250 kyats per servant because we will have to pay half of the car fees.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                           Chairperson

                                                    Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                  Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[The normal amount would be 4,000 per porter, but 250 has been added to pay for their transport from Toungoo, where the village tract has hired them, to Baw Ga Li Gyi.]

 

Order #T43

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        [left blank] village                                                                    Date:   12-6-98

Subject:   To collect and pay servants’ fees for the servants hired for the 
               frontline in 6/98 and those to be hired later

Regarding the above subject, all villages around Baw Ga Li Gyi village must pay the fees for (53) servants hired by the villages collectively and sent to the frontline in the month of (6/98). The fees for (20) servants to be hired later in this month from Baw Ga Li Gyi are apportioned as follows to each village, and this is to inform [you] that the Chairperson / Secretary from each village must collect the fees and send them on (15-6-98).


No. Village (53) persons in front-line (20) persons hired later Total
1/
2/
3/
4/
5/
vvvv [village]
wwww
xxxx
yyyy
zzzz

30 persons                 
5 persons                 
10 persons                 
6 persons                 
2 persons                

11 persons              
2 persons             
4 persons             
2 persons             
1 person            

41
7
14
8
3

   

53 persons                

20 persons             

73

Baw Ga Li Lay village has been irresponsible for a long time. If you do not hire the number of servants according to your allotment, the local battalion will take appropriate action against you. The leader of Baw Ga Li Lay village must be rechosen and the result must be reported to Baw Ga Li Gyi village on (15-6-98).

[This is a typewritten and unsigned order sent to several villages (the threat against Baw Ga Li Lay village was included on all copies). To ‘hire the number of servants according to your allotment’ means to pay the cost for the village tract to hire that number of labourers for the military. At the bottom of each copy, handwritten notes to the village head indicate how much his village has to pay, always in the tens of thousands of Kyat. These handwritten notes have been omitted here for security reasons.]

 

Order #T44

                                                                                    Stamp:
To:   Chairperson / Secretary                               Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

        xxxx [village]                                         Peace and Development Council
                                                                          Than Daung Township

                                                                                                    Date: 20-7-98

Subject:   To collect and send the monthly servants’ fees for the month of 7/98
               July

You are informed that there are in total (70) servants in the month of 7/98; the total servants for each village is specified as follows, and you must collect 4,250 kyats per servant. The reason for asking 250 kyats more [than the usual 4,000] is due to the need to pay half of the car [transport]fees.


vvvv [village]
wwww
xxxx
yyyy
zzzz

41 persons
3 persons
4 persons
16 persons
6 persons

Regular fees per family = 100 kyats

                                                                         [Sd.]
                                                                 (for) Chairperson

                                                Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                             Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T45

[This is a hastily written receipt for ‘porter fees’ paid to the village tract PDC by a village.]

xx-6-98

xxxx [village]

The fees for two servants for emergency needs
                        8,000 kyats

                        Received.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                       (for) Chairperson    

                                                     Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                 Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T46

                                                                                  Stamp:
To:   Chairperson / Secretary                            Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

        xxxx [village]                                       Peace and Development Council
                                                                          Than Daung Township

                                                                                                   Date: 14-5-98

Subject:   The matter of the servants hired on 2-5-98

The Baw Ga Li Gyi Camp asked for (30) servants on (2-5-98) and (21) were hired. The number of servants apportioned to each village is as follows, and you must come and pay the remaining servants’ fees.


(1) wwww [village]
(2) xxxx
(3) yyyy
(4) zzzz

11 persons
5 persons
2 persons
3 persons

(1) vvvv [village]:              Amount paid [already]                      xx,xxx K [kyats]
                                         Balance                                           xx,xxx K

                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                                        (for) Chairperson

                                                     Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                  Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T47*

                                                                                       Stamp:
To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                 Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

        xxxx village                                               Peace and Development Council
                                                                               Than Daung Township

                                                                                                     Date: 6-5-98

Subject:   To pay the servants’ fees of 21 servants for #710 LIB

The Battalion Commander asked 94,500 K [kyats] for the servants’ fees for (21) servants who came along as operation servants with the Column of #710 LIB which arrived at Baw Ga Li Gyi on 3-5-98, so the VPDC [Village Peace & Development Council] of Baw Ga Li Gyi paid the fees.

All villages in Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract are responsible for these servants, so you are informed that the following villages are responsible to collect their respective fees for the payment.


(1) wwww [village] 
(2) xxxx
(3) yyyy
(4) zzzz
(60,000 K [kyats])
( 7,200 K)
(20,400 K)
(10,800 K)

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Chairperson

                                                  Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                               Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[‘Operation servants’ are frontline porters. In this case the porters have not been hired by the village tract, but have been rounded up (probably without pay) by the military column before coming into the area. On arrival at the largest village of the village tract, the column of LIB 710 had 21 porters with them and demanded 94,500 Kyats to ‘pay for’ these forced labourers. The elders had to pay it, though none of this money will go to the porters, and then issued this order to demand that the smaller villages of the tract pay their ‘share’ of the amount already given to the military. Note that the total adds up to 98,400 Kyats, 3,900 Kyats more than was paid to the military. This is probably due to corruption within the Village Tract PDC.]

 

Order #T48

To:   Chairperson / Secretary / Village elders                          Stamp:
        xxxx village                                                    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

                                                                         Peace and Development Council
                                                                                  Than Daung Township

Date:   27-4-98

Subject:   To collect and pay the regular servants’ fees for the operation servants 
               hired for the month of (4/98)

You are informed that the villages must collect the fees on time for the (32) operation servants hired by the frontline columns, and pay these fees as soon as possible before the end of the month. The distribution among the villages is as follows.


(1) wwww [village]
(2) xxxx
(3) yyyy
(4) zzzz

(16) persons
(10) persons
( 4 ) persons
( 2 ) persons

This is not the group [of porters] sent on (24-4-98), this is the remainder [of the fees] for the previous group.

                                                                                  [Sd.]
                                                                          (for) Chairperson

                                                       Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                      Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T49*

[This is a hastily written receipt for ‘porter fees’ paid to the Village Tract PDC by a village.]

                                    Stamp:
Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract Peace and Development Council

                            Than Daung Township

    Fees received for servants in March


Date Amount Received Paid By
(1) 14-4-98
(2) 22-4-98
(3) 26-4-98

xx,xxx
xx,xxx
xx,xxx

xxxx

Total

xx,xxx

 

                                                              For the month of March
                                                                        Received.

For xx servants.

                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                                     (for) Chairperson

                                                  Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                               Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T50

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        Village Peace and Development Council
        xxxx village Date: 21-11-97

Subject:   To collect and send the fees for the operation servants

In the meeting held on (13-11-97), #39 IB asked for 100 operation servants for the frontline columns, and so the authorities of our village tract went to see Ko xxxx in Toungoo to hire the servants and ( - ) servants arrived here tonight. To pay the servants’ fees to Ko xxxx, your village must pay the fees of xx servants for every 100 people [of the population in your village]. You are informed that you must collect the fees for ( - ) servants and come to bring it as soon as possible, and you will be informed again by letter if the authorities ask for ( - ) more servants.

                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                          (for) Chairperson

                                                        Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                                             Baw Ga Li Gyi

[In this case the Battalion has demanded 100 porters for the frontline from the village tract, so the Village Tract PDC has contracted labour agent Ko xxxx to hire that number of people. The Village Tract PDC is now demanding that the villages pay them the money which they owe to Ko xxxx on the basis of xx porters (@ 4,000 or more kyats each) per 100 villagers. This is a typed form letter with blanks for the village name, date and number of ‘servants’. On this copy some have been left blank, as the amount to be paid is based on the village population and the village head would know the amount to pay per ‘servant’.]

 

Order #T51

                    Stamp: 
Law and Order Restoration Council           To:   Chairperson / Secretary
    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract                         xxxx village

                                                                                               Date: 10-9-97

Subject:   To come and pay the fees for 1 servant for 1 village

Regarding the above subject, to pay the fees for the operation servants sent to the Bu Sah Kee Frontline, each village must come and pay the fees for 1 servant. If you want to know the details of the servants’ fees, come and see the Chairperson of Baw Ga Li Gyi village. The last day for sending the servants’ fees is (15-9-97).

This is to inform [you] that the villages which did not come and pay the servants’ fees for the month of August according to their apportionment must collect the fees and come and bring them.

                                                                                  [Sd.]
                                                                             Chairperson

                                                    Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                                  Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T52

                  Stamp:
Law and Order Restoration Council

     Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village                                                                         Date: 21-8-97

Subject:   To pay the servants’ fees for the long-term operation servants sent to 
               the Bu Sah Kee Frontline

The Deputy Battalion Commander of #73 Infantry Battalion of Baw Ga Li Gyi Base has summoned long-term operation servants for the Bu Sah Kee Frontline. Although all villages in the village tract must send these servants based on the ratio of total houses in the village, we discussed it with the Deputy Battalion Commander of #73 IB and sent the servants as shown in the following list.

Therefore, you are informed that the fees for the operations servants we hired and sent to the frontline are specified as follows for each village based on the ratio of total houses in the village, and you must come and pay these fees.


(1) Baw Ga Li Gyi
(2) Baw Ga Li Lay
(3) Kyauk Pon
(4) Thit Say Taung 
(5) Pyaung Tho
(6) Ku Pyaung
(7) Za Ba Ji
(8) Meh Kyaw
(9) Doh Der
(10) Yay Tho Lay
(13) persons
( 1 ) person
( 1 ) person
( 5 ) persons
( 2 ) persons
( 2 ) persons
( 6 ) persons
( 1 ) person
( 2 ) persons
( 1 ) person
  (34) persons

Other costs in hiring the operation servants such as vehicle fees and expenses for food provided to the servants before they were sent to the Frontline is (800 kyats) for each village, and the Chairperson / the Secretary must come and pay the fees.

                                                                                    [Sd.]
                                                                           (for) Chairperson

                                                    Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                                   Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This order was issued by the Village Tract LORC to inform village leaders that the Tract authorities have negotiated with the Battalion to hire long-term frontline porters rather than obtaining them from the villages. The Village Tract authorities have hired the required 34 porters in town, sent them to the Battalion, and are now demanding to be reimbursed by each village. Each village must pay for the specified number of porters based on village size and the standard amount (several thousand Kyat per porter) which is already known by village heads, plus 800 Kyat per village to cover the cost of transporting the porters from Toungoo and feeding them.]

 

Order #T53

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                                      Date: 24-7-97
        xxxx village

Subject:   To come and pay the fees for the operation servants hired and sent for 
               the Na Pa Ka [Western Military Command]

Regarding the above subject, (40) operation servants were sent on 22-7-97 as requested by #55 IB of the Na Pa Ka Strategic Command. You are informed that the operation servants are apportioned to the following villages in Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract according to the total number of households in the villages, and all villages must come and pay the fees for the operation servants.


(1) Baw Ga Li Gyi
(2) Kyauk Pon
(3) Baw Ga Li Lay
(4) Thit Say Taung
(5) Za Ba Ji
(6) Meh Kyaw
(7) Doh Der
(8) Pyaung Tho
(9) Ku Pyaung
(20) persons
( 1 ) person
( 1 ) person
( 5 ) persons
( 6 ) persons
( 1 ) person
( 2 ) persons
( 2 ) persons
( 2 ) persons

                                                                           [Sd.]
                                                                   (for) Chairperson

                                             Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                            Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[In this case, IB 55 demanded 40 porters (operation servants) so the village tract LORC hired 40 people to go instead of the villagers, and is now demanding that the villages each pay for their allotted number of porters. The Western Military Command is based in Arakan (Rakhine) State but has been operating in Toungoo District for several years now.]

 

Demands for Cash Compensation and Other Fees

Order #T54*

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village Date: 21-3-98

Subject:   To collect and send the donations for 2 landmine victims,
               Saw Taw Ni and Saw Pah Yu

Regarding the above subject, while going along with the Column of #138 LIB as operations servants, 2 villagers from Doh Der village, Saw Taw Ni and Saw Pah Yu, who stepped on land mines on (18-3-98) and (20-3-98), were admitted to the hospital by the authorities and Saw Taw Ni was later reported dead at Toungoo Hospital on (20-3-98).

You are informed that donations for these two landmine victims must be asked from all villages and must be sent to Baw Ga Li Gyi to be handed over to their relatives through the Chairperson of Doh Der village, and you must come to bring the collected money to Baw Ga Li Gyi.

                                                                              [Sd.]
                                                                     (for) Chairperson

                                                Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                             Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[Though these 2 villagers stepped on landmines while doing forced labour for an SPDC column, the authorities paid no compensation and ordered instead that it be paid by other villagers.]

 

Order #T55*

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village                                                                       Date: 10-2-98

Subject:   To collect funds for a funeral

1. A truck driver’s assistant named Saw Da Maung, the son of Saw Maung Oh, from Yay Tho Gyi village was killed by a vehicle (Pa/6315) which was part the convoy from Baw Ga Li to Bu Sah Kee on food carrying duty.

2. The authorities have instructed us to raise a funeral fund by collecting it from all villages to help his remaining family for all necessary things required for the funeral.

3. Therefore, you are informed to collect 100 kyats from each family in all villages and send the funds here.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                       (for) Chairperson

                                                   Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[In this case, a civilian was killed by a truck which was part of a military convoy carrying rations, but as usual the SPDC is demanding that the villagers pay compensation to his family rather than paying it themselves. The amount of 100 Kyats per family in all villages is excessive, and is definitely much more than would be needed for a funeral; most of it will probably be taken by local PDC officials and the military.]

 

Order #T56

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village Date: 2-2-98

Subject:   To collect funds from the villages and send them on time

Regarding the above subject, in accordance with the agreement between the villages to raise the funds to hire operation servants for Baw Ga Li Gyi Base and for other matters such as money for landmine victims, voluntary labour, vehicle fees, and sending servants for emergency needs, all villages must collect funds as shown in the following list. Some villages are complying but others have failed.

Therefore, you are informed that you must come and pay your village fees before (6-2-98), and that if you fail you will face the consequences and Baw Ga Li Gyi will not be responsible for your village.


No. Village Monthly Fees
2/98
Emergency
(10) persons
Vehicle Fees 
First   Second
Remarks

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Baw Ga Li Gyi
Baw Ga Li Lay
Kyauk Pon
Thit Say Taung
Yay Tho Lay
Pyaung Tho
Ku Pyaung

48
6
6
17
5
8
7

     

1. Since the servants from three villages, Za Ba Ji, Meh Kyaw and Doh Der, went along with the battalions under the command of Na Pa Ka [the Western Military Command], these three villages are exempt from paying monthly fees by the local battalion. For these three villages, the 7 remaining villages must pay the servants’ fees according to their population ratio.

2. 30 emergency servants were taken by Ko xxxx on (31-1-98) and all villages must provide the fees according to the distribution for each village.

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                      (for) Chairperson

                                                  Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                              Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[The numbers shown under ‘Monthly Fees 2/98’ are numbers of porters; villages have to pay about 4,000 Kyat of fees per porter hired by the Village Tract PDC. The Na Pa Ka (Western Military Command) is actually based in Arakan (Rakhine) State but has also been operating in Toungoo District for several years now. Note that even though Za Ba Ji, Meh Kyaw and Doh Der have already sent servants with the Na Pa Ka and are therefore exempted from paying fees for their own servants, the other villages still have to pay for them. ‘Emergency servants’ are porters demanded on an urgent one-time basis by the military; Ko xxxx is a labour agent who hires porters in Toungoo for the village tract, though it is unclear whether he took the porters by force or paid them this time. Either way, the villages are being ordered to pay for them. Amounts are written under ‘Emergency’, ‘Vehicle Fees’, and ‘Remarks’ for this specific village, but have been omitted here for security reasons.]

 

Extortion of Food and Materials

Order #T57

             Stamp:
Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

To:   Chairperson
        xxxx village

Subject:   To collect vegetables

Regarding the above subject, you are informed to send gourds, beans and other vegetables from the hill-side fields to xxxx on (21-9-98).


(1) Pumpkins
(2) Gourds
(3) Cucumbers
(4) Other vegetables
15 pieces
20 pieces
20 pieces
1 basket
     (beans, gourd sprouts, pumpkin sprouts)

                                                                                 [Sd. /Lt.]
                                                                           Intelligence Officer

                                                                            xxxx, Lt. xxxx
                                                                Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

[This is an order for food to be sent to the local Army camp.]

 

Order #T58

To:     xxxx (Chairperson)
          xxxx village                                                                  Date: 1-8-98

Dear Chairperson, I am xxxx, the Intelligence Officer from #xxx IB. I want (15) durians today, so send them with this messenger who comes from xxxx village. I will come there later because I have no time right now. Help appropriately.

                                                                   Thankfully,

                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                 Captain xxxx

[Durian is a large seasonal fruit, usually weighing 1-2 kilograms each, which is highly valued throughout Southeast Asia.]

 

Order #T59

               Stamp:
Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

Chairperson
xxxx village

Uncle, I request you to send two (2) viss [3.2 kg/7 lb.] of chicken along with the Road Security Unit which is coming there today.

                                                                                    [Sd. /Lt.]
                                                                              Intelligence Officer

                                                                                 xxxx, Lt. xxxx
                                                                     Advance #xxx Infantry Battalion

 

Order #T60*

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                       Stamp:
        xxxx [village]                                          Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

                                                                  Peace and Development Council
                                                                         Than Daung Township

                                                                                                     Date: 22-5-98

Subject:   To cut and stack Wabo bamboo for Baw Ga Li Gyi Base

In accordance with the instructions of the Company Commander of #48 IB at Baw Ga Li Gyi Base on (22-5-98) in the morning, you are informed to cut (xx) 6-taun-long Wabo bamboo and stack them at the side of the car road. They will be picked up by truck on (23-5-98) in the evening, so you must finish cutting and stacking the bamboo on (23-5-98) in the morning.

Total (xx) pieces - length 6 taun [9 feet]

                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                      
(for) Chairperson
                                                   
Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                               
 Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[Wabo is a particularly large and thick variety of bamboo, 6 inches or more in diameter and 15, 20 or more feet long.]

 

Order #T61

              Stamp:
#xxx Light Infantry Battalion                                                              27/4/98

          Company #2

To:   Chairperson
        xxxx village

Dear Chairperson,

We’ve just arrived at xxxx village. We are out of food since we have come from the deep jungle. Therefore, we want you to help our group with something to eat such as chicken, etc. We are at the house of the Chairperson of xxxx village.

That’s all.
                                        Thanks.
                                                                        Yours,

                                                                         [Sd. / 27/4/98]
                                                                Temporarily at xxxx village

                                                             At the house of the Chairperson

 

Order #T62

                  Stamp:
    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

Law and Order Restoration Council
       Than Daung Township

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village                                                                       Date: 11-9-97

Subject:   To send the bamboo shoots and spikes requested by #73 IB of Baw Ga Li Gyi
               Base in accordance with the specified number and date

Regarding the above subject, you are informed that #73 IB of Baw Ga Li Gyi Base is requesting bamboo shoots and one-taun-long [18-inch-long] spikes, and you must send them in the specified numbers as shown in the following list of quotas for the villages on (16-9-97), Tuesday, without fail.


No. Village Bamboo Shoots Spikes

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Za Ba Ji
Meh Kyaw
Doh Der
Yay Tho Lay
Pyaung Tho
Ku Pyaung
Thit Say Taung
Kyauk Pon
Baw Ga Li Lay
Baw Ga Li Gyi

200 viss
50 viss
70 viss
100 viss
200 viss
75 viss
200 viss
100 viss
75 viss
300 viss

1,000 pieces
350 pieces
600 pieces
600 pieces
600 pieces
400 pieces
1,000 pieces
400 pieces
400 pieces
3,000 pieces

Note: Send them on (16-9-97), the specified date, without fail.

                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                 Chairperson

                                                         Village Tract Law and Order Restoration Council
                                                                                Baw Ga Li Gyi

[Bamboo shoots, available in rainy season, are a highly valued food. The spikes are most likely for use in booby-traps at the Army camp. One taun is 18 inches; one viss is 1.6 kg / 3.5 pounds.]

 

Order #T63

                       Stamp:
        Than Daung Township Police                                                  Date:   20-7-97

Baw Ga Li Police Check-point, Karen State

To:   U xxxx
       Chairperson
        xxxx village

Dear Chairperson - I’d like to request you to send 5 good durians to the Baw Ga Li Police Station.

Send them on (22-7-97).                                     Respectfully,

                                                                                     [Sd.]
                                                                                 Commander

                                                                        Baw Ga Li Police Station

[Durian is a large seasonal fruit, usually weighing 1-2 kilograms each, which is highly valued throughout Southeast Asia.]

 

Order to Take Part in an Army Volleyball Tournament

Order #T64*

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                             Stamp:
        xxxx village                                Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

                                                      Peace and Development Council
                                                           Than Daung Township

                                                                                                   Date: 24-7-98

Subject:   To take part in the Advance #30 Battalion Commander’s Cup Volleyball 
               Tournament

Reference: Ref. No. -Ya Ta-30/Ah 1 Ba 1/Oo 1 of Advance #30 Infantry Battalion 
                 from Baw Ga Li Gyi dated 24-7-98

1. According to the above reference, to hold the volleyball tournament for the Battalion Commander’s Cup of Advance #30 Infantry Battalion, let us know if your village can/cannot form a volleyball team. You must organise your villagers to form a volleyball team to take part in the tournament.

2. To start the tournament, volleyball teams from all villages must be formed, so you, Chairperson / Secretary yourself, must come and report on progress to Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract Peace and Development Council on (27-7-98).

3. You will be informed in advance of the starting date of the tournament.

                                                                                [Sd.]
                                                                           Chairperson

                                                     Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This type of tournament is a common occurrence when SPDC officers want to be entertained. Usually all villages are forced to form teams, and if they cannot they must pay heavy fines as penalties. Then the villages with teams are forced to pay heavy ‘entry fees’, so the SPDC officers make money either way.]

 

Summons to ‘Meetings’

Order #T65

                                                                                      Stamp:
To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

        xxxx village                                              Peace and Development Council
                                                                             Than Daung Township

                                                                                                   Date: 20-7-98

Subject:   To discuss the matter of servants

To discuss the matter of servants, you are informed that the Chairperson / Secretary must come to Baw Ga Li Gyi on 21-7-98 at 8 o’clock in the morning without fail.

                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                  Chairperson

                                                           Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                        Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T66

To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                                 Stamp:
        xxxx village                                                     Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

                                                                          Peace and Development Council
                                                                                Than Daung Township

                                                                                                  Date:   20-7-98

Subject:   To discuss the matter of servants

You, Chairperson / Secretary, are informed to come to Baw Ga Li Gyi village without fail on (21-7-98) at 8 o’clock in the morning to discuss the matter of servants.

                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                              Chairperson

                                                      Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                  Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T67

                                                                 Stamp:
To:   Chairperson / Secretary         Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract

        xxxx village                       Peace and Development Council
                                                        Than Daung Township              Date:    8-5-98

Subject:   To attend the meeting about clearing the road

Regarding the above subject, the Battalion Commander of #48 IB at Baw Ga Li Gyi Base will hold a meeting with all village authorities of the villages in Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract to discuss the clearance of the Toungoo - Mawchi car road, so you are informed that you, Chairperson / Secretary, yourselves must come and report to Baw Ga Li Gyi Base without fail (without fail) as soon as you receive this letter.

If you fail, it will be entirely your village’s responsibility.

                                                                                 [Sd.]
                                                                        (for) Chairperson

                                                     Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                 Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[This will be a meeting to assign forced labour for clearance of the road route for the new Toungoo - Mawchi motor road, which was begun in early 1998 and is not yet complete. Copies of this typewritten order were sent to several villages.]

 

Order #T68

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        [left blank] village Date: 17-4-98

Subject:   To attend a meeting

The Battalion Commander of #48 IB at Baw Ga Li Gyi Base wants to have a meeting with Chairpersons / Secretaries from all villages in Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract and you are informed that you, the Chairperson / Secretary yourself, must attend the meeting without fail (without fail) according to the following schedule.

Meeting date - 20-4-98 (Monday)
      "      time - 7 o’clock in the morning
      "      place - Baw Ga Li Gyi Police Station

                  Stamp:
    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract                                          [Sd.]

Peace and Development Council                              (for) Chairperson
      Than Daung Township                    Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                     Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T69

                                                                                                              4-2-98
To:   Chairperson / Secretary                                                Stamp:
        xxxx
 village                                                    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 

                                                                         Peace and Development Council
                                                                                Than Daung Township

Subject:   To come and see the Commander of the Frontline Column

Regarding the above subject, the Commander of the Frontline Column of #xxx Infantry Battalion at Baw Ga Li Base wants to see you, and so you are informed that you, Chairperson, must come yourself and see the Commander without fail (without fail) as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                              (for) Chairperson

                                                           Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                         Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

 

Order #T70

                                                                                            17-1-98
                                                                                            Stamp:
                                                                                Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract 
                                                                             Peace and Development Council
                                                                                     Than Daung Township

To:   Chairperson
        xxxx [village]

Subject:   To attend a meeting

Regarding the above subject, you are respectfully informed that the Chairperson / the Secretary and the village elders from your village must come to Baw Ga Li Gyi village tomorrow, (18-1-98), Sunday, without fail (without fail).

[Regarding:]
(1) The matter of servants

(2) The matter of monthly servants
(3) The matter of the victims of landmines

                                                                             Chairperson
                                                     Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                  Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[‘The matter of servants’ would refer to sending forced labourers, ‘the matter of monthly servants’ to paying extortion ‘servants’ fees’ every month, and the ‘matter of the victims of landmines’ involves forcing villagers to pay compensation to the families of porters wounded or killed by landmines while doing forced labour for SPDC troops.]

 

Order #T71

To:   Chairperson / Secretary
        xxxx village                                                                        Date: 14-12-97

Subject:   Invitation to attend a meeting

All local battalions/units which have arrived in this area for their operations want to see and have a meeting with all Chairpersons and Secretaries from the villages, and so you are informed that all Chairpersons and Secretaries must attend the meeting according to the following schedule.

Meeting date - 17-12-97 (Wednesday)
    "       time - 9 o’clock in the morning
    "       place - Baw Ga Li Gyi VPDC Office

Note:   Come and arrive at the specified time, 9 o’clock in the morning.

Bring the fees for the xx voluntary labourers hired for the month of 12/97.

                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                           (for) Chairperson

                                                        Village Tract Peace and Development Council
                                                    Baw Ga Li Gyi Village Tract, Than Daung Township

[VPDC = Village Peace & Development Council.]

Dooplaya District

Just south of Pa’an district is Dooplaya district, extending to the southern tip of Karen State with extensive fertile plains in the west and mountains in the east. Much of this region was controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU) until the SLORC mounted a major military offensive and overran most of it in early 1997. The KNLA continues to conduct guerrilla activities there, and the SPDC is systematically working to consolidate total control over the region. To do this they conduct sporadic forced relocations in areas of central and far southern Dooplaya whenever KNLA activity becomes frequent. Threatening orders against having any contact with the KNU (see Order #D1 below) have been issued to village elders in the area. The SPDC also imposes heavy restrictions on the Karen rice farmers who populate the region; those who live in farmfield huts or houses far from their villages have been forced to move into the centre of their villages, and no one is allowed to be outside of villages without an SPDC pass. In most places these passes only allow villagers to leave the village in the morning and return by sunset, making it extremely difficult for people whose fields are one or two hours’ walk from the village. Even with a pass to be in the fields, farmers spotted by passing SPDC patrols are frequently taken as porters.

Villages in Dooplaya also face a steady stream of demands for forced labourers at Army camps, porters on a permanently rotating basis, bullock carts and teams, rice, other foods, dry goods, and building materials. Extortion money in the form of "servants’ fees" is also levied on all villages under SPDC control in the region, and more formal rice quotas have begun to be levied against rice farmers. These quotas must be paid in addition to the ad hoc demands for rice constantly coming from local Army units.

For more information on the situation in Dooplaya District, see "Dooplaya Under the SPDC: Further Developments in the SPDC Occupation of South-Central Karen State" (KHRG #98-09, 23/11/98).

 

Threats to Those Supporting the Opposition

Order #D1*

[This is a typewritten form letter with details written into the blanks. Items shown in bold face italics are those which have been written in.]

                      Stamp:
#xx Military Strategic Command (Base)

Subject:   To sign that you understand and promise

At Kya In Seik Gyi township, xxxx village Chairperson / Secretary / Member xxxx , age ( xx ) years, (Father’s name, xxxx ), on October xx, 1998 at 1200 hours, confirms that he fully understands the following facts told him by the Operations Commander, the TPDC Secretary, the person-in-charge of the Immigration Dept., the MI Unit Commander and the Commanders of the Battalions / Units, promises that he will accept any action taken against him according to the law, and agrees to relocate the villages.

(1) Do not support any insurgent; do not give any information about the military to the insurgents; do not provide the insurgents with food or protection money.
(2) Do not allow any insurgent to take destructive action against the military or any government department.
(3) Do not encourage or accept any deserter; do not contact the insurgents for them.
(4) Do not distribute any propaganda papers or cassette tapes produced by the insurgents.
(5) Do not sell liquor to the soldiers; do not encourage the soldiers to drink [alcohol].
(6) Immediately report to the military about the insurgents as soon as they arrive at the village.
(7) If I support the insurgents, encourage the soldiers to drink alcohol or contact the insurgents to hand over any soldiers [deserters], I will bear the punishment of God and accept any action taken against me according to the law.

                                                                          [Village elder’s thumbprint]

Place:   Kya In Seik Gyi town                       (Signature):          xxxx       
Date:         xx-10-98                                    Name:                xxxx       
                                                                 Village:             xxxx       

"Witnesses"

(Signature):                   [Sd.]                     (Signature):                [Sd.]               
Rank/Name:                  xxxx                      Rank/Name:               xxxx                 
Post:                            xxxx                       Post:                         xxxx                  
Department:  Township Police Station        Department:   Township Peace &           
                                                                                          Development Council 
Place:                 Kya In Seik Gyi town        Place:               Kya In Seik Gyi town    
Date:                         xx/10/98                  Date:                       xx/10/98               

[In the first paragraph, ‘TPDC’ = Township Peace & Development Council, and ‘MI’ = Military Intelligence. In Item 7, the word used for ‘God’ refers to the Christian God; this may be because many of the villagers in the area are Christian. This document is a typewritten order which it appears that the elders of several villages were forced to sign, probably after being summoned to a meeting at the Township PDC in Kya In Seik Gyi. Village elders are constantly ordered to do such things as are mentioned in this document; this signing ceremony is only to intimidate them further. The references to Tatmadaw deserters are included because more and more soldiers are deserting from the SPDC Army. When they do so in areas like Kya In Seik Gyi township, they usually go to the elders of a nearby village and ask to be taken to the opposition forces to surrender. To prevent this, when soldiers desert SPDC commanders usually inflict heavy punishments on all surrounding villages, often including the arbitrary torture or execution of elders.]

Forced Labour

Order #D2*

                                                                                             Stamp:
                                                                                #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

                                                                                           Company #2
Chairperson
xxxx village

You are informed that the Chairperson or the Secretary must bring 8 servants to xxxx village on 27-10-98 / the 8th Waxing Day, at 12 o’clock and also bring rice for 1 day for the servants. If you fail, it will be entirely your responsibility.

                                                                                       [Sd. / Capt.]
                                                                                  Company Commander
                                                                                       Company #2

[‘Servants’ are forced labourers, usually referring to porters or Army Camp labour if not specified otherwise. ‘The 8th Waxing Day’ refers to the equivalent lunar day on the Burmese calendar.]

 

Order #D3

To:   Chairperson                                    Stamp:
        xxxx village              Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
                                                          Column #1                        Date:   17-10-98

You are informed that you, Chairperson, must immediately come along with the Secretary of xxxx [village]who brings this letter; the Secretary of your village must follow you after gathering four servants, and you, Chairperson and Secretary, are entirely responsible if you fail to bring the servants.

                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                       (for) Column Commander
                                                               Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #D4*

                   Stamp:
Frontline Light Infantry Battalion #xxx

          Column 2 Headquarters

To:   Chairperson
        xxxx village 
        Kya In Seik Gyi township Date: 18-7-98

Subject:   Permanent rotation servants required

You the headperson are informed to send 5 permanent servants with their own rice to arrive today for the use of Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion, Column 2, and prepare to rotate the servants every 5 days.

                                                                                   [Sd.]
                                                                          Column Commander
                                                                                 Column 2
                                                                     #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

[In SPDC written orders, porters are generally referred to as ‘servants’ (wontan). ‘Permanent servants’ means that the specified number of porters must be with the Column on a permanent basis, rotated with replacements from the village every 5 days. ]

Order #D5

               Stamp:                                                                              Date: 1-6-98
Frontline Light Infantry Battalion #xxx                  To:   Chairman
              Column 2                                                     xxxx village

To build xxxx camp, you are informed to come with (26) voluntary labourers with one bowl of rice each, to xxxx monastery on the 2nd at 8 o’clock without fail.

                                                                            [Sd. / 1-6-98]
                                                                   (for) Battalion Commander
                                                             Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

Order #D6

                Stamp:                                                                            Date: 1-6-98
Peace & Development Council
              xxxx village                              (IMPORTANT - DO QUICKLY)

To:   Village Head
        xxxx + yyyy villages

Subject:   The voluntary labour carts must arrive

Regarding the above subject, according to the order from the Township, #xxx Military Operations Command Headquarters requires cart porters urgently. Therefore, [send] 1 cart with 1 team of bullocks together with enough rations from each of your villages to arrive at the Village Peace and Development Council office together at 4 o’clock this evening without fail, you are informed.

Note

Today, 1-6-98, Monday, at 4 o’clock in the evening they must arrive together. If there is failure and those from the Army camp come to arrest you, it will not be our responsibility. One village must give one bullock cart. Do it by drawing lots.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                                    Chairman
                                                                       Peace & Development Council
                                                                     xxxx village, Kawkareik Township

[Each cart will have to be taken by its owner with a team of 2 bullocks, and will likely be used to haul rations or other materials for the Army.]

 

Extortion of Cash, Food and Materials

 

Order #D7*

                                                             Stamp:
                                                 #xxx Light Infantry Battalion       Date:    22-10-98
                                                         Company #2
To:   Chairperson/Secretary
        VPDC
        xxxx village

You must make 5 baskets to be used for the servants and send them within the next three days. Come and bring some food on 22-10-98 in the afternoon. We are out of food. Send a chicken, a package of London cheroots, 30 kyats of cooking oil and a package of Ajinomoto for our Captain, without fail. Send 3 pyi of rice too. Thanks.

                                                                                         [Sd. / 22/10/98]

[The baskets demanded are for use by porters doing forced labour carrying supplies and/or ammunition; these porters are probably demanded from the same village. 30 kyats of cooking oil would be about 300-400 millilitres, and 3 pyi of rice is about 5-6 kilograms. Ajinomoto is commonly used MSG seasoning powder.]

 

Order #D8

To:   Chairperson                                   Stamp:
        xxxx village              Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

                                                          Column #1                          Date:   19-10-98

You are informed that you, Chairperson, bringing 1½ tins of rice with you, must come and see the Column Commander at xxxx [village] as soon as possible.

                                                                                  [Sd.]
                                                                   (for) Column Commander

                                                            Advance #xxx Light Infantry Battalion 

[1½ tins of rice is about 25 kilograms / 55 pounds.]

 

Order #D9

                   Stamp: 
Village Peace & Development Council
            Date: 12-5-98
    Ye Township, xxxx village

To:   Chairman (xxxx village)

Subject:   Requesting assistance with the servants’ fees

Regarding the above subject, according to the agreement of the xxxx village tract headmen and small village leaders, xxxx village is assessed (two thousand) for servants’ fees. Therefore, [you] are informed to come and pay this money at xxxx village.

                                                                                      [Sd.]
                                                                                   Member (1)

["Servants’ fees" are more commonly known by villagers as "porter fees". They are not actually used for porters, it is simply a name used to extort money for the military.]

 

Order #D10

            Stamp: 
Infantry Battalion #xxx                To:    Chairman
                                                        xxxx village

Subject:   Informing [you] to send logs

[You] are informed to send (30) logs, (6) inches in diameter and (8) feet in length, for repairs to the camp, to xxxx camp before 25-1-98. If [you] fail to send [them], it will be the gentleman’s[i.e. your] responsibility alone.

                                                                                          [Sd. / WO II]
                                                                                      Camp Commander

[‘WO II’ means ‘Warrant Officer 2’.]

 

Order #D11

                                                                                       Stamp: 
To:   Chairman                                                          Infantry Battalion #xxx
        <xxxx village>                                                             25-10-97

Subject:   To repair camp buildings

According to the subject mentioned as above, the gentleman’s village was informed to send wood by the 25th of the month, however no wood has been sent until now. Therefore, it is informed that the gentleman yourself should come and report to the camp commander what date you will send wood.

                                                                                         [Sd. / 25-10-97]
                                                                                             xxxxcamp

 

Crop Quotas and Money-Spinning Schemes

Order #D12*

Ministry of Commerce and Trade
Myanmar Agricultural Products Trading
Kya In Seik Gyi Town

                                                           Ref. No.:   04 / Paddy Purchasing Depot / 98
                                                           Date:         9-11-98

To:   Chairperson
        Quarter/Village Peace and Development Council
        xxxx Quarter/Village, Kya In Seik Gyi Town

Subject:   Notification about selling paddy

Regarding the above-mentioned subject, the Township Peace and Development Council has decided that xx farmers from your village/quarter must sell xx tins of paddy to the purchasing depot of Myanmar Agricultural Products Trading.

However, as of 9-11-98 , only ~ farmers from your village/quarter have sold ~ tins of paddy , so this is to notify [you] that the remaining ~ farmers must sell ~ tins of paddy as soon as possible.

[Written in by hand:] Sell xx tins of paddy within November.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                                    In Charge

                                                                           Paddy Purchasing Depot
                                                                             Kya In Seik Gyi town
Copies to:
            (1) Chairperson
                 Township Peace and Development Council
                 Kya In Seik Gyi town
            (2) Township Manager
                 Myanmar Agricultural Products Trading
                 Kya In Seik Gyi town
            (3) Office Copy

[This is a typewritten order with the village name and quantities demanded and outstanding written in by hand. Rice farmers are all forced to sell quotas of rice to the SPDC at only 10-20% of market price for use in feeding the Army and exporting for SPDC profit. Villages are assessed based on their family registration lists and lists of acreage which they are forced to submit to the military. Many villages like this one are delinquent in their quota payments because the farmers cannot pay and still survive, particularly when they also have to constantly give rice, other food, and money to Army units in combination with these quota demands. However, village leaders and farmers who fail to comply face arrest and confiscation of their land, so they usually end up paying, even when this forces them to buy rice at the market to hand over to SPDC authorities.]

 

Order #D13

                 Stamp: 
Village Peace & Development Council                                           Date: 20-12-97
        Ye Township, xxxx village

To:   Chairman / xxxx village

Lottery money should be sent to the Township soon, therefore you are informed to come and give money to xxxx VPDC [Ya Ah Pa, short for Village Peace and Development Council] on 21-12-97.

                                                                                     [Sd. ‘xxxx’]
                                                                                       Chairman
                                                                     Village Peace & Development Council
                                                                             Ye township, xxxxvillage

[This is just another way of taking money from villagers; the village elders are given a number of tickets and ordered to sell them and hand over the money, whether they can actually sell them or not.]

 

Summons to ‘Meetings’

Order #D14

         Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion                                                                Date:   28-10-98

       Company #3

To:   Chairperson/Secretary
        xxxx village

Subject:   To come and see me

Regarding the above-mentioned subject, to discuss the local situation, you are informed to come and see me at xxxx village on 29-10-98 at 8 o’clock in the morning.

Note:   If you fail, it will be entirely your responsibility.

Bring all family lists with you.

                                                                                               [Sd.]
                                                                                  (for) Column Commander
                                                                            A[dvance] #xxx IB, C[ompany]#3
                                                                                   Local Security Control Unit

 

Order #D15

           Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion                                                           Date:   20-11-98
       Company #3

To:   Chairperson (xxxx)

Subject:   Invitation to attend a meeting

Regarding the above-mentioned subject, you are informed to come to the Column Office at xxxx village on (22-11-98) at 10 o’clock to attend a meeting without fail.

Note:   If you fail, action will be taken against you.

 

Order #D16

          Stamp:
#xxx Infantry Battalion                                                                     Date:   20-11-98
      Company #3

To:   Chairperson (xxxx village)

Subject:   Invitation to attend a meeting

Regarding the above-mentioned subject, you are informed that you, Chairperson, must come to the Column Office at xxxx village on 22-11-98 at 10 o’clock to attend a meeting without fail.

Note:   If you fail, action will be taken against you.

 

[This order was left unsigned.]

Papun District

The orders below come from northern Papun District, where close to 200 small villages in the hills have been shelled, burned and destroyed by SPDC troops since early 1997. Unable to round up the villagers for forced relocation because they always fled into the forests before troops could arrive, the SPDC decided to simply wipe out the villages. An estimated 30,000 or more people are still living in hiding in the forested hills in small groups of 2-5 families, trying to grow small crops and sometimes being hunted out by SPDC troops to be shot on sight. As a result there are few written orders issued to villagers in this area, though more are issued in central and southern Papun District both by the SPDC and the DKBA.

 

Order #PP1

                                                                                                         23-11-98
To:   Chairperson
        xxxx village

You are informed to come to the Column as soon as you receive this letter.

                                                                                             [Sd.]
                                                                                         Col. Cmdr.    

                                                                         A[dvance] #xxx [Infantry Battalion]

 

Order #PP2*

                                                             Stamp:                              Date:    31-10-98
                                                                                                                                                 D.K.B.A.

The Progressive Buddhist Ayin [sic] National Army

Subject - To make a fence for the Camp

Regarding the above-mentioned subject, you, the villagers, are respectfully informed to come to help us in making the fence for the Camp on 1-11-98.

                                                                                               Lt. xxxx
                                                                                            Company #x
                                                                                      Ka Saw Wah Battalion

                                                                                              xxxx Camp
                                                                                               D.K.B.A.

 

[The ‘Camp’ is the local DKBA military camp. The DKBA members themselves usually refer to themselves as ‘DKBA’ in English or its equivalent in Karen, though this order is written in Burmese; ‘Progressive Buddhist Ayin National Army’ is the direct translation of what the officer has written on this order. Intending to write ‘Kayin’ (Burmese for ‘Karen’) he has mistakenly written ‘Ayin’, which is meaningless in this context (it is an adverb meaning ‘firstly’). In the stamp, ‘D.K.B.A.’ is written in English letters, and under the signature it is written in Burmese characters which spell ‘Dee Kay Bee Ay’.]