Interview | Saw Hs---, (male, 63), W--- village, T' Nay Hsah Township, Pa'an District (April 2012)
The following interview was conducted by a community member in Pa'an District. It is presented below translated exactly as it was received, save for minor edits for clarity and security. This interview was received along with other information from Pa'an District, including two incident reports, 44 other interviews and 683 photographs.
Position: Village Tract head
How do people address you?
People called me Hs---.
How old are you?
I'm 63 years old.
Where do you live?
I live in W--- village.
What are the problems in the village as a village tract head?
The problem is that some of the villagers don't get enough food. I want them to get enough food. Because they don't get enough food, they have to work as a hired person by other people. Some villagers don't even have flat field.
What is the problem for the villagers who have flat field but still have to work for others?
The problem is that people came and planted landmines here. They planted them on the fields, and beside the well and beside the houses.
Who planted the landmines?
The Border Guard planted them. They planted them besides our flat fields and our houses.
Which Border Guard is it?
It was Dee Kyaw Naw's soldiers. Dee Kyaw Naw is the highest ranking out of those soldiers who come here.
What is his rank?
I'm also not sure about his rank. I think he is the Battalion commander at Taung Thone Lone [Three Mountains camp].
Didn't you tell them not to plant them beside your flat fields and houses?
We told them, but they said they also dug out their landmines but that others didn't dig them out yet. So, we are not sure whose landmines they were. They planted them and other [armed groups] also planted them.
Were they also afraid to take out their landmines that they have planted?
Yes. They knew that the other army didn't take them out so, they don't feel good about this. So, they just took out only some of the landmines that they planted.
So, do you think will the landmines hit the cows and buffalos later?
Yes, for sure, in this situation, it'll definitely hit the cows and buffalos.
How can it hit your cows and buffalos because I saw you tie them up?
That's why we have to tie up our cows and buffalos. Otherwise they will get hit by the landmines. We have to worry for the cows and buffalo that are untied.
Did they warn you not to go to those places where landmines are planted?
They warned us. They told me to tell the villagers and I warned the villagers. I told them even though you see they dig out their landmines; don't be so happy because they just dug out some of them. We heard that they planted a lot. But, as villagers we want to go to the forest for hunting or finding vegetables to eat. So, it hit them.
What do you think of their planting of landmines? Do you think they planted them for their enemy or for the villagers?
In my opinion, I don't think they planted them for their enemy but I think they planted them for the villagers.
I heard that the villagers are a bit naughty?
Yes, villagers from Noh Kay are a bit naughty. They also lie to me. When you ask them something, they won't tell you.
Did you see anything that Border Guard does to support you?
They also asked us about this. And we answered that, because of them we have schools, the roads are repaired now and we also have a monastery. We just said what they wanted to hear.
Did they really build the school and the monastery or did the villagers build it?
The villagers built it. The DKBA [Border Guard] soldiers also helped us.
Did they help with their strength or with money?
They gave us money.
Where did [Border Guard] Boh [Officer] K'Doh get the money?
I also don't know about that. They planted the plantation and asked the villagers to go and help so I think they will get the money from their plantation.
I heard that Boh K' Doh recruits so many soldiers and now he has become a rich man, so is it true?
I don't think he has become rich because of this reason. Because we give the recruitment fees to the soldiers who are being recruited. We don't give it to him.
Did you have to give him the fees?
No, we just have to give the soldiers who we hire [to go as recruits].
Does the Border Guard also recruit their soldiers?
No, they don't. Actually, they asked us once, but we didn't give him any villagers.
Do you think the KNU [KNLA] ever benefits you, the villagers?
Yes, we have benefited. Sometimes, we also send the food to them secretly. Boh K'Doh also ordered us once, but we didn't give him any. So, they told us, if you want to give food to the KNU [KNLA], give it when [the Border Guard] don't see. If they see us giving the food to the KNLA, we will not be able to live here anymore.
So, you also have to be afraid when you send the food to KNLA?
Yes, we are afraid and we have to give them it secretly.