SPDC ORDERS TO VILLAGES: SET 99-B

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Published date:
Monday, February 15, 1999

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.

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. Orders #P2-P5 were written in Burmese and issued by SPDC Army officers, and Orders #P1 and P6 were written in Sgaw Karen and issued by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), which operates extensively throughout the District. Order #P1 specifically relates to landmines, which are being laid heavily by all sides in the conflict and have become a major menace to villagers throughout the region. Though the order states that the DKBA will start landmine operations on 20 February 1999, they have in fact been laying landmines throughout the region for at least a year already.

The orders below are divided into 3 categories: Landmine Warning to Villagers, Forced Labour, and Summons to ‘Meetings’. Many more orders from Pa’an District are included in "SPDC Orders to Villages: Set 99-A" (KHRG #99-01, 10/2/99). 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.

Landmine Warning to Villagers

 

Order #P1*

 

Democratic Karen Buddhist Army                                      Stamp: 
            Brigade #999                                  D.K.B.A. Brigade 999 Special Battalion
          Dee Kay Bee Ay                                      Ba Ma/0169, Lt. Col. Chit Thu

 

                                                                         Number - 999 / Ah Ta Dta Ya / 002
                                                                         Date: 2/2/99
To:        [blank]          village tract / village

 

Subject:    Distributing information

 

Regarding the above subject, xxxx area / village tract / village elders / all the people, as the KNU has informed the xxxx area, [they will] place landmines 3 cubits [4½ feet] from the pathways so you cannot go. They are not placing them to hurt their enemies like us, but to give more problems to the people’s / villager’s belongings[meaning livestock]. As the KNU can do it, mothers, fathers, siblings in the villages, we inform you that we have the right to do it too. We are full of love for you but we cannot take care of all.

 

Notes: 1) On 20/2/99 we will start placing landmines and small-scale fighting.
                2) Villagers we see when we enter villages anywhere must not run away.
                3) If anything happens to the people who run, we will not take responsibility.

 

                                                                               [Sd. / Chit Thu]
                                                                            Battalion Commander
                                                                               Special Battalion
                                                                                  #999 Brigade
                                                                                 Dee Kay Bee Ay

 

[This order was typed in Karen and signed with a signature stamp of Chit Thu, a well-known DKBA commander. ‘DKBA’ is spelt out phonetically as ‘Dee Kay Bee Ay’ rather than its Karen or Burmese equivalent. Similarly, ‘KNU’ is spelt out as ‘Kay Eh Yu’. In fact both the KNLA and DKBA have been laying landmines in the area for quite some time already. The final two notes are an implied threat that any villagers seen running from DKBA troops will be shot.]

Forced Labour

 

Order #P2*

 

To:    xxxx village                                                             15-2-99
        (Chairperson / Secretary)

 

Subject: To discuss urgent servant matters

 

Regarding the above subject, gentlemen [meaning ‘you’] should come with 2 messengers from the gentlemen’s village to yyyy village quickly. If [you] fail it is the responsibility of the village. Will wait until 16-2-99 at 0700 hours.

 

                                                                                        [Sd.]
                                                                                  Captain xxxx
                                                                             Company Commander
                                                                        #xxx Light Infantry Battalion

 

[This orders the village heads to bring two villagers to do forced labour as messengers for the Army camp, carrying messages between camps and delivering orders such as this one to villages. The implication is that the entire village will be punished if two people for forced labour are not delivered by the following morning at 7 a.m.]

Summons to ‘Meetings’

 

Order #P3

 

                       Stamp:                                  Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
#xxx Frontline Light Infantry Battalion              xxxx village
                Tactical Section                             Number: xxxx / xxxx / Oo 1
                                                                    Date: 1999 March 1
To:    Chairperson
         (yyyy village)

 

Subject: To report to the Column office in xxxx village

 

Chairpersons and Secretaries themselves should report to the Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion Column office at xxxx village on 5-3-99 at 1000 hours without fail. If [you]fail it is the responsibility of the village which fails to attend.

 

                                                                                 [Sd. / Capt.]
                                                                             Intelligence Officer

Order #P4

                      Stamp:                                 Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion
Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion            xxxx village
                Tactical Section                           Number: xxxx / xxxx / Oo 1
                                                                  Date: 1999 February 17
To: Chairperson
        (yyyy village)

Subject: Informing [you] to attend a meeting

Chairpersons or Secretaries themselves from villages should attend a meeting on 18-2-99 at 1000 hours at Frontline #xxx Light Infantry Battalion at xxxx village.

                                                                                 [Sd. / Capt.]
                                                                             Intelligence Officer

Order #P5

To:    xxxx village                                                                 16-2-99
         (Chairperson / Secretary)

Subject: To discuss urgent matters

Regarding the above subject, come with the messenger who brings this letter as soon as you get this letter. Come and see [me] quickly.

                                                                                       [Sd.]
                                                                                 Captainyyyy
                                                                       Mobile Company Commander

Order #P6

                                                     Stamp: 
                               D.K.B.A. Brigade 999 Special Battalion
                                       Ba Ma/0169, Lt. Col. Chit Thu

To:     Village Tract Head / Deputy Village Tract Head
          [blank] village tract

Subject: Writing to inform

Regarding the above subject, writing to inform [you] quickly, if you see this letter, on (xx/2/99) you will come to #999 Brigade Special Battalion frontline office here. If [you]do not come, [we] will take severe action.

                                                                         [Sd. / Chit Thu]
                                                                      Battalion Commander
                                                                         Special Battalion
                                                                            #999 Brigade
                                                                          Dee Kay Bee Ay

[This order was written in Karen and signed with a signature stamp by Chit Thu, a well-known DKBA commander.]