Situation Update | Bu Tho, Lu Thaw and Dwe Lo townships, Hpapun District (January 2013)
The following Situation Update was received by KHRG in January 2013. It was written by a community member in Hpapun District who has been trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. It is presented below translated exactly as originally written, save for minor edits for clarity and security. This report was received along with 152 photographs.
January 18th 2013
Karen Human Rights Group
Subject: The Tatmadaw’s activities in Mu Traw [Hpapun] District and the situation of the civilians
As mentioned above, now I want to report on the situation in Mu Traw District and the activities of the [Tatmadaw] after the 2012 ceasefire and [provide] a situation update on the civilians, as mentioned below.
Karen Human Rights Group
Mu Traw District
If we look back to our Mu Traw District, there are three townships in our district. They are Bu Tho, Lu Thaw and Dwe Lo [townships]. The Tatmadaw set up their camps in the three townships of Mu Traw District. After the ceasefire, they took the opportunity and rebuilt their camps and sent more food and more bullets to their camps. Moreover, they sent food and soldiers to the camps by boats on the Salween River. So, [we villagers feel that] the Tatmadaw is taking the opportunity during the ceasefire and preparing themselves for the future in order to eliminate the Karen.
Situation of civilians
There are two types of civilians in Mu Traw District. The first type of civilians do not show themselves [hide] from the Tatmadaw and the second type show themselves to the Tatmadaw. When we look back, they [both types] have the same life and suffer [the same abuses from Tatmadaw]. The civilians can work and travel a bit more freely after the ceasefire. But, they believe that the ceasefire is not a stable process for them because the Tatmadaw are rebuilding their camps and sending more food to their camps during the ceasefire, so it does not satisfy them [the villagers]. They always have to worry. They also are faced with land confiscation and extortion by the Tatmadaw after the ceasefire. Instead of removing their camps, the Tatmadaw came back and rebuilt their camps in the mountains and they are close to the working areas of the villagers, who do not show themselves to the Tatmadaw. As such, Ler Mu Plaw, Hsaw Muh Pleh army camp, Taw Thoo Plaw Plah Hkoh army camp, Plah Gaw Plaw Paw Lay Hkoh army camp and Khoh Daw Hkoh army camp are very close to the fields of the villagers and the villagers do not dare to go to the fields. More than that, the Tatmadaw use some of the villagers from Nyaunglebin [District] to come and buy marijuana [for them]. They ask the villagers from Mu Traw District to grow marijuana. So, the villagers grow marijuana and they were paid 50,000 kyat (US $51.37) for one viss (1.6 kg. / 3.52 lb.). They sell the marijuana in two places. One place is in Ta Kaw Hta and the other place is in Nyaunglebin District, Mone Township. The Tatmadaw are also trying to find ways to make Mu Traw District become a place of drugs. Moreover, they also import drugs, such as yaba to Ta Kaw Hta.
The situation and activities of the Tatmadaw
The Tatmadaw started to rebuild the roads, improve their camps and send more food to the camps after the ceasefire. On January 1st 2013, they dug and extended the road to reach to Hplah Hkoh army camp. Moreover, a helicopter landed in the Teh Baw Plaw area, Toe Thoo Mweh Plaw at 9:40 am and another helicopter with food landed on Say Day Mountain at 11:50 am. Also, if we look at Lu Thaw Township, the activities of the Tatmadaw are not decreasing yet. On January 1st 2013, a Tatmadaw helicopter landed on Hplah Ghaw at 9:30 am and left materials and then went to Saw Hta army camp and then came back at 1:30 pm and sent material to camps such as Maw Htoo army camp, Kyuh Lu army camp, Ler Klay Kyoh army camp and then landed on Hplah Hkoh army camp. Furthermore, on January 2nd 2013, at 9:40 am, a Tatmadaw helicopter landed at Kaw Daw Hko army camp for 30 minutes. The building of the road also reached to Khaw Daw Hkoh army camp. On December 31st 2012, the Tatmadaw sent food to Kay Kaw army camp in Dwe Lo Township area. The list of foods are: 407 sacks of rice, two sacks of yellow beans, 12 sacks of salt, 23 tins of cooking oil, two sacks of shrimp paste, three sacks of sugar, one sack of tea, 12 packs of milk, two packs of beef cans, one pack of dry bamboo shoots, one pack of vegetables and six packs of alcohol.
On January 3rd 2013, some of the Tatmadaw leaders came to Hpapun, two of who were Nay Pyi Taw’s Prime Minister and the Kayin State Chief Minister. The headquarters commander of the South East Regional Military Command Headquarters departed together from Hpapun with his comrades.