Incident report | Bilin Township, Thaton District (May 2011)
This incident report is presented below translated exactly as originally written, save for minor edits for clarity and security.
On May 4th 2011, two groups of SPDC Army [Tatmadaw] troops gathered together at the Kh--- temple. It was about 8:00 pm. One of the groups left the village at that time [8.00pm] but the other group left the village the next morning. They met each other at the top of the P--- Mountain. Afterwards that day at 11:00 am, they entered L--- village and they divided into two groups. One went back to A--- army camp. The other group went back to Gk--- army camp. The group that went back to Gk--- army camp was led by Battalion Deputy Commander Aung Ko Ko. On the way that group of soldiers was afraid that KNLA soldiers might be waiting to shoot them, so they arrested two of the village heads from L--- village, named Pee Y--- and Mu Ghar T---, at 11:00 am on May 5th 2011. The two women were asked to lan pya [Burmese term translating literally as ‘show the road’, meaning to guide the soldiers].
They started to go to N--- village but before they arrived at N--- they arrested one more villager from D--- village, but I do not know that person’s name. They [the Tatmadaw] moved around outside [D--- village] in the bushes but they did not enter D--- village. The two village heads asked if they could go into D--- village but the soldiers did not allow them. So they asked if they could go back home to L--- village but the soldiers did not allow either of them to go home. In the evening at about 4:00 pm, the SPDC Army soldiers moved ahead to D--- village. Before they arrived in N---, they also captured another villager who was out finding frogs, but I do not know this villager’s name. They arrested this villager as well and made him follow them, so there were now four arrested villagers [in total].
They [the four arrested villagers] had not eaten any rice and also the two village heads wanted to shine their lights [torches] but they were not allowed. Pee Y--- mentioned that she fell on the bridge and hit her head against something. It hurt so much that she almost haw tha pwa [Karen term, translating literally as ‘cry like adult’ meaning to cry very loudly]. She became hungry and did not have the strength to go on ahead. According to Pee Y---, the SPDC Army did not enter the village but continued to move around [the village] through the bushes. She then asked them: "Why aren’t you entering the village?" They said they were afraid of the KNLA soldiers. They moved around like this [through the bushes], step-by-step until they arrived at Gk--- army camp late, when it was past 12:00 am.
[At that time] Pee Y--- said she was hungry and asked the soldiers to give her food and water and so they gave her food to eat. On the way [while walking], Pee Y--- had asked for some water. Instead they gave her gk’thee p’doh htee [literally ‘big water medicine’ meaning saline solution for intravenous rehydration] to drink but she dared not drink it. They had to sleep in the monastery. In the morning Pee Y--- said to the Tatmadaw Commander: "Commander, we have taken you so far so give us some payment." The Commander gave the two village heads 3,000 kyat (US $ 3.90) each and the other two men were given 1,000 kyat (US $1.30) each.
I did not just hear about these villagers arrested to be guides. I also experienced it when I walked around in this [L---] village and I saw the SPDC [Tatmadaw] Army soldiers arrest those two villagers [headwomen] in L--- village. When those two women came back I met them, talked with them and also took photos.