Tatmadaw artillery fire directed at villagers working on hill field farms in Hpapun District, February 2015
Hill field farming is one of the key livelihood activities for villagers in Lu Thaw Township, Hpapun District. Every year, villagers clear vegetation, such as trees and bamboo, in forest areas in order to create space for their hill field farms.
On February 17th 2015, at 1:00 pm, Burma/Myanmar Tatmadaw troops indiscriminately fired artillery shells from Maw Law Koh hill top in the direction of villagers cutting down trees to clear their hill field farms in Saw Muh Plaw village tract, Lu Thaw Township.
Again, on February 22nd 2015, at 2:00 pm, Burma/Myanmar Tatmadaw troops twice shelled heavy weapons in the direction of villagers cutting down trees for hill field farms in Hkay Hpoo village tract, Lu Thaw Township.
Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #543, under the control of Military Operations Command (MOC) #5, is based at Khaw Thaw Hkoh military camp. Tatmadaw LIB #410, led by Battalion Commander Win Min Oo, is under the control of MOC #8 and is based at Wah Klay Lu camp. Both Tatmadaw camps are located near Saw Muh Plaw and Hkay Hpoo village tracts. Villagers reported that it was one of the Tatmadaw battalions above which fired heavy weapons towards the location where villagers were clearing hill field farms.
Villagers fled from the area where shelling occurred and no villagers were injured. However, Tatmadaw shelling near areas where villagers earn their livelihoods has created insecurity among villagers. Currently, the villagers do not dare to cut down trees near their villages for hill field farming.