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Published date:
Wednesday, March 10, 1993

The following accounts were given by new refugees from Thaton District, in western central Karen State, where the SLORC has recently escalated its attacks on villagers. The villagers' names have been changed and some details omitted to protect them. However, all names of villagers, soldiers and places given in their stories are real.

"My husband died 3 years ago of sickness. I have been the head of our village since 1970, because no man dares to be head of the village anymore. They know that the enemy will come and oppress and torture them if they become headman. Even 20 years ago the men were already too afraid of the Burmese. The soldiers always tie up and beat the headman, but not usually if it is a woman. Even so, I left my village about 8 days ago and came here to be a refugee. It took us 4 nights and 5 days to get here. I left because the Burmese were coming more and more to take our money and food and killing people, until I couldn't bear it anymore. This has been happening the whole time I have been head of the village, but now they oppress us more than ever before."