Situation Update | T'Nay Hsah Township, Pa'an District (September 2011)
The following situation update was written by a villager in Pa'an District who has been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. It is presented below translated exactly as originally written, save for minor edits for clarity and security.
Injury and concerns involving landmines
On September 13th 2011, a Gk--- villager named Saw P---, 30, had gone to his farm to replant his rice paddy which had died. He returned to his village in the evening and on the way, at 6:30 pm, he stepped on a landmine outside his farm. His farm is far from Gk--- village, about a 20-minute walk. He stepped on the landmine along the La--- River bank outside his farm. His left foot was torn apart when the landmine exploded. After the landmine exploded, [Tatmadaw] Border Guard Battalion #1017 Corporal Saw Bpa Mi Hsaw went to investigate and brought him [Saw P---] back to Gk--- village. The landmines were planted by Corporal Saw Bpa Mi Hsaw and his soldiers. They planted the landmines and sharpened bamboo stakes around the village. After the Border Guard soldiers took Saw P--- to the village, a medic named Saw B--- treated his injuries. Thara Saw B--- provides medical training in Gk--- village.
In the Gk--- area, the active armed groups are Border Guard Battalion #1017, the KNU-KNLA [Karen National Union-Karen National Liberation Army] Peace Council and KNLA Battalion #101. Gk--- village is located in T'Nay Hsah Township near Ky---, Na---, N---, M--- and Dt--- villages.
The villagers also reported that the armed groups which are most active in this area are the Border Guard and KNLA, and that they plant landmines. However, the KNLA plants the landmines around their army camp, and when they plant the landmines they tell the villagers where they plant them. Border Guard Battalion #1017 soldiers use the villages as their army camp and they also plant landmines to protect themselves, but they do not let the villagers know where they plant them. The Gk--- village head also mentioned that because of the landmines, dogs, goats and a herd of cows have also been killed. No one knows exactly how many cows or dogs have been injured or killed [by landmines]. The dogs were mating [when they were killed by landmines] and no one knows who their owners were.
The [Gk---] village head also said that the Border Guard soldiers living in Gk--- and Ky--- villages mostly use dtaing [tripwire] mines. The Border Guard [Battalion #1017] commanders are Gk--- and Ky--- villagers, so they [Battalion #1017 soldiers] live in those villages and they have not built a separate army camp. Border Guard Battalion #1017 Company Commander Captain Saw Hsa P'lee and Section Commander Corporal Saw Bpa Mi Hsaw live in Gk--- village. Because the Border Guard soldiers are based in the village, the villagers live in fear as they worry that a battle might occur in the village.
The [Gk---] village head also said that Border Guard Battalion #1017 left [Ky---] on September 19th 2011 and removed all the landmines that they had planted.
Attack on villagers
On September 17th 2011, a Border Guard Battalion #1017 soldier shot at a Ky--- villager's farm hut. According to the villagers' beliefs, they were making sacrificial offerings in the hut to ensure their farm's success when the Border Guard soldier shot at them. The villagers believed that the Border Guard solider shot at them because he had heard loud voices and assumed that, because of the loud noise, KNLA soldiers might be in the hut. That villager's hut is close to a KNLA army camp. In this attack, a villager named Saw A--- was killed, but this villager is not from the Ky--- village area. He was from Pathein [the capital city of Irrawaddy Division] and had come to work in the area. The owner of the hut that the Border Guard soldier shot at is named Pa Dtee [Uncle] Ht---. According to the villagers' beliefs, if a villager from another village dies in their village they will not bury the villager where they bury their own [villagers] so they buried him in another place. The villagers also mentioned that a child was injured in the attack. The child was injured on the inside of the left arm. This child is only six years old.
The Border Guard Battalion #1017 soldier who attacked the villagers is named Saw Htee Yoh. He was a [civilian] medic before the transformation of [Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA)] into the Border Guard, after which he joined the Border Guard.
The Ky--- village head also reported that on the day of the attack, and after the villager [from Pathein] died, the Border Guard soldiers put an M16 assault rifle and two magazines [of ammunition] beside the villager who died and took a picture. After that, they ordered the village head to tell people this villager was a KNLA soldier.