Situation Update | Bu Tho Township, Papun District (November 2011)
The following situation update was written by a villager in Papun District and is presented below translated exactly as originally written, save for minor edits for clarity and security. This report was received along with other information from Papun District, including nine interviews, and 89 photographs.
Incidents that happened in Bu Tho Township
The villagers had to porter when some of the SPDC soldiers got injured. One group of soldiers from LIB [Light Infantry Battalion] #218, TOC [Tactical Operations Command] #3 from K’Ter Tee camp were active in W---, Pw---, L---, and they went forward from one village to another until [they reached] H---. The group of soldiers from LIB #218, TOC #3 were active here for the purpose of making the villagers afraid.
While the LIB #218, TOC #3, was staying in H---, eight of their soldiers were killed by landmines, and ten of them were injured, meaning that altogether 18 soldiers [were killed or injured]. The ten people who got injured were far away from the camp [at the time they were injured] and there was not enough medicine, so [in order] to carry them to K’Ter Tee hospital, the soldiers forced villagers to porter their loads [that the soldiers had been carrying]. The villagers who had to porter are from L--- and they went [to porter] on November 15th 2011. The villagers portered from H--- to K’Ter Tee, and it took one day.
The incident was caused by the LIB #218, TOC #3 and their purpose was for the injured people [soldiers] to get good treatment. The victims were L--- villagers. The incident [of forced labour] happened in L--- village, Day Wah village tract, Bu Tho Township. I got the information on November 30th 2011. We don’t know yet whether these incidents will continue or not in the future.
Taxation and demand for boat tax
Soldiers from Border Guard Battalion #1013 who are based in K’Ter Tee camp didn’t allow boats to travel [on the Yunzalin River], because they said that they had heard that the KNLA [Karen National Liberation Army] had closed the vehicle road. Whether this was true or not, we don’t know. The soldiers from Battalion #1013 based in K’Ter Tee camp didn’t allow boats to come. They said if boats came they would have to pay money. A small boat had to pay 10,000 kyat (US $12.99) and big boats had to pay 15,000 kyat (US $19.48).
[As a consequence] boats didn’t come for three days. After the drivers of the boats gave them money, they allowed them to travel. In reality, this incident occurred because Battalion #1013 wanted money. Because they didn’t have enough food they demanded money to restock their food [supplies]. It happened on November 25th 2011. Battalion #1013 didn’t allow boats to travel, [which meant that] boats in Ka Ma Maung couldn’t travel and boats in Papun also were not allowed to travel. The river isn’t different from the Papun vehicle road [in this way]. Because Battalion #1013 closed the [water] way, it affected people who have boats. The Sergeant Major of Battalion #1013 is Saw Maw Lah and the Battalion Commander isBo Lah Kyeh. I got this information on November 27th 2011.
Food [security] problems have occurred in Meh Ku village tract, Day Wah village tract, Bu Tho Township. The food [security] problem happened because the weather was not good. Floodwater washed away paddy fields so the paddy was destroyed. The villagers could not work on their fields and there was not enough food so the villagers now face food problems. The main problems that most villagers face are food problems. There are only a few villagers who have enough food.
Villagers who do not have enough food have to do work, like cutting bamboo or bamboo cane to sell. Villagers who cut bamboo and bamboo cane to sell, [can sell] cane for 4,000 kyat (US $5.19), and if it is bigger, it [can be sold for] 6,000 kyat (US $7.79). Some asked their brothers and sisters [friends] and relatives who have rice [for food], and so they shared and helped each other.
For some villagers, floodwater washed the paddy from their fields and [they] could not work [grow paddy] anymore. As soon as it became day [as soon as possible], they ploughed their land which remained and planted other crops such as beans, sesame, tobacco and corn. For that reason, their plantations were of benefit in restocking food [supplies] and [addressing] the problem.
Other villagers who work as day labourers get paid 25 baht (US $0.30). They work day by day. Some villagers who have enough food help some of the villagers who do not have enough food. Villagers who have to buy rice have to pay 5,000 kyat (US $6.49) for one big tin (16 kg. / 35.2 lb) of rice. The weather was not good which has caused big problems for the villagers. I couldn’t help resolve this incident for the villagers. It happened because the weather was not good.