Villager shot and killed in Papun District

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Villager shot and killed in Papun District

Published date:
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On June 13th 2012, Saw N---, a 48-year-old former resident of M--- village, Naw Yoh Hta village tract, Lu Thaw Township, Papun District was shot and killed while collecting truffles in Pa Heh village tract, Bu Tho Township, Papun District. The shooting took place close to where the Tatmadaw soldiers from Infantry Battalion #19 are based at Hpah Hkeh Kyo, leading local villagers and a security leader to believe that it was troops from the camp in question who were the perpetrators of the shooting. Also during the incident, 30,000 baht (US $973.72), which Saw N—had brought along to purchase truffles from others on the trip went missing. This incident is also described by villagers in two other published KHRG reports.[1] 

On June 13th 2012, at approximately 7:20 am, Saw N---, a 48-year-old resident of M--- village in Naw Yoh Hta village tract, Lu Thaw Township, Papun District was reportedly shot by Tatmadaw soldiers from Infantry Battalion (IB) #19 while collecting truffles in the forest with other villagers. While the other villagers were unhurt, Saw N--- was killed. He was shot on a hill in Pa Heh village tract, Bu Tho Township, Mu Traw District. Tatmadaw IB #19 is based at Hpah Hkeh Kyo.[2] He received three gunshot wounds to the armpit area and was also shot in his left eye. According to Saw E---, a security leader from T--- internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, the exit wound had left a hole in the back of his head through which his brain was visible.

Saw K---, a 29-year-old man who was in the party of ten villagers including Saw N--- who went to collect truffles, reported that on the afternoon of June 12th, Saw N--- had gathered nine other people for the trip. At 6:00 am on the morning of June 13th, he hired one motor boat and went to U Kweh Hta.[3] They then climbed up U Kweh lu [hill], and onwards to the Hpah Hkeh Kyo area, where they began collecting truffles. Saw N--- had also brought along 30,000 baht, which was partly his own money and partly funds which he had collected from friends who wanted him to buy truffles for them, to be delivered on his return. The 30,000 baht was situated inside a tarp bag which he was carrying; the money was not there when Saw E--- and the others went to clear the body.

The T--- camp security leader Saw E---, also reported that on the morning of June 13th 2012, at 7:20 am, gun shots were heard, so at 8:00 am, he went to U Kweh Hta to gather security men in Kyoh Roh Hkee and Kyoh Roh Hta,[4] but some were away. At 9:00 am, they went to clear the place where the body lay. With four people accompanying him, they searched around where the incident had happened until 5:00 pm. They did not dare to go directly to where the body lay, so they went back to U Kweh Hta. However, on June 14th, at 9:00 am, he gathered five more security men. They again went to the place where the incident happened. They went across the U Kweh kloh [river] and after that continued on to the Toh Thoo kloh, where they saw the path that the Tatmadaw had made on the way back to their base. Saw E---, concluding from the amount of footprints along the path, estimated that there may have been up to around ten Tatmadaw soldiers who had been involved in the incident. They continued along the path that the Tatmadaw had made, until they reached the place where Saw N--- was lying dead. The place where he was shot was lined with trees, the variety of which villagers use the leaves for thatching their houses. The area was not grassy, and there were no tall trees surrounding the location. Saw N---'s body was brought back and buried near a stream bank in the jungle.

In conclusion to the events on the day of the incident, the Tatmadaw had never been seen by villagers patrolling at this place before. Villagers had collected truffles there on two other separate occasions. On June 13th, the morning when the villagers went to collect truffles on the hill, the Tatmadaw had made their way across the U Kweh kloh to another hill and then continued on their patrol, to another hill where they heard the conversations of the villagers, so they waited. The villagers who were collecting truffles were situated on the hill slope; they had not reached the top of the hill yet. Meanwhile, Saw N--- had moved on further ahead, near to where the Tatmadaw were waiting, further up and around the hill slope. It was at this point, as he was moving around the side of the hill, that he was shot; his friends could not see him because they were further around the other side of the hill. They had moved in a different direction and were collecting truffles separately. When his friends heard the gunshot for the first time they did not run but after two or three seconds, as more gunshots were fired, they became afraid and decided to run. His friends stopped and waited for him on the way back, but Saw N--- did not appear, so his friends knew that he had been shot.

Footnotes

[1]  See "Papun Interview: Saw K---, June 2012," KHRG, July 2012 and "Papun Interview: Saw E---, June 2012," KHRG, September 2012.

[2] The camp is named Hpah Hkeh Kyo as it is situated at the top of Hpah Hkeh Hill.

[3] U Kweh Hta is an area situated close to the banks of the U Kweh River.

[4] These are posts where security personnel are stationed surrounding the T--- internally displaced persons camp.