Situation Update | Kyainseikgyi Township, Dooplaya District (March to May 2015)
The following Situation Update was received by KHRG in May 2015. It was written by a community member in Dooplaya District who has been trained by KHRG to monitor local 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 other information from Dooplaya District, including two other situation updates, two incident reports, seven interviews, 194 photographs, and 14 video clips.
This information was documented between March 1st 2015 and May 16th 2015. The information covers activities [undertaken] by the Tatmadaw, DKBA [Democratic Karen Benevolent Army], KNU [Karen National Union], and civilians.
On March 10th 2015, at 10:30 am, a group of 30 DKBA [soldiers] led by [Tactical Commander General] San Aung [were returning home to D--- village and] on their way crossed over [passed through] E--- [village] and arrived at A--- section, in M--- village where there is a pagoda. [Also] on March 10th 2015, at 11:30 am, LIB [Light Infantry Battalion] #549 [which is] under the control of Military Operations Command [MOC] #12 from Kaw T’Ree [Kawkareik Town] travelled to G--- village. The soldiers [from LIB #549] were led by Win Tun Aung. On the same day, at 5:00 pm, LIB #231 [which is also] under the control of MOC #12 also came over to G--- [village]. There were 50 of them [soldiers from LIB #231], led by Aung Thu Pyo.
DKBA [Tactical Commander General] San Aung’s group opened fire on them [LIB #549 and LIB #231] with D79s [M79s], therefore they [LIB #549 and LIB #231] opened fire back at them. The fighting broke out in A--- section and continued for around 32 minutes. We [community members] are not certain if the villagers [caught in the middle] were injured or not.
On April 1st 2015, Column #1 of the two columns of Tatmadaw LIB #556, under the control of MOC #13 and led by Deputy Battalion Commander Thet Naing, took control of H--- village [area] and patrolled the village. There were 35 members of the Tatmadaw in the column. Column #2, led by Column Commander Nyain Chan So, took control of the area around I--- village and patrolled the village. There are 35 members of them in Column #2.
They [Tatmadaw soldiers from Column #1 and #2 of LIB #556] observed the situation [in these areas] and photographed former KNU army camps and questioned the villagers about the number of households in the villages and the number of villagers. If they [the villagers] observed armed groups travelling in this [area] they had to inform them [Tatmadaw soldiers]. They [Tatmadaw soldiers] also observed how many mountains and hills there are in the village [areas]. The [2012 preliminary] ceasefire has taken place; therefore [according to the agreement] they should not wear their uniform in the [villages]. They have been patrolling from K’Lay [village] to Kaw T’Ree [Kawkareik Town]. They were patrolling wearing their uniforms and also brought ammunition with them into [a KNU controlled area]. They patrolled and also stopped in an area [in H--- and I--- villages] which caused problems for us [the villagers].
On April 12th 2015, Column #1 from LIB #556, under the control of MOC #13, led by Deputy Battalion Commander Thet Naing was situated in K’Lay army camp. They had been patrolling in limited [KNU controlled] areas which are in J--- village and K--- village. They went to patrol there [in the limited areas in J--- and K--- village], but they have not returned to their base yet. There are 50 soldiers in this column.
On April 30th 2015, two Tatmadaw [soldiers] from LIB #556, under the control of MOC #13, entered the KNU controlled [area]. The first [soldier], So Paing Mo, is a company commander and he brought a 9 mm [pistol] gun with him. I [KHRG Community Member] do not know the name and rank of the other Tatmadaw [soldier]. When they got there [KNU controlled area] they were arrested by the KNU. They were questioned by the KNU and asked where they live. They live in K’Lay army camp and the KNU brought them back to this camp. The deputy battalion commander of LIB #556, Thet Naing, said “We will never [be] satisfied with the way that you [KNU] act.” Therefore, if LIB #556 [continues to] behave like this a problem could occur. We [community members] have already let the leaders [KHRG] know [about the incident].
On March 10th 2015, fighting broke out [between DKBA and Tatmadaw soldiers] in G--- village and A--- section. The villagers therefore were not able to work on their livelihoods [during the fighting]. The villagers fled to the jungle to sleep. On March 12th 2015 they [the villagers] came back to check [on] the situation in their village and it seemed to be fine so they returned to their village on that day.
One of the villager’s names is Saw B----. He lives in D--- village and he is 31 years old. He went to his plantation on April 17th 2015. When he was on his way back to his village he stepped on a landmine at Z--- hilltop. The toes on his left foot were injured. It was a landmine planted by the DKBA, [specifically] [Tactical Commander General] San Aung’s group. [Tactical Commander General] San Aung is the leader of the DKBA Battalion [#907].
In [the past] the DKBA sent their soldiers to Noh Khoh Tee [village], Noh Thay Hpoo [area] and Htee Hseh Hploh [village] to be checkpoint guards. [Now they have] withdrawn all the soldiers from all [of those] checkpoints.
DKBA Battalion #901 established a [new] army camp in C--- village on April 25th 2015. They requested five people each day from L--- village to construct buildings for them. Before they constructed their camp they did not keep in touch [discuss] with [KNU] district administrators and battalion commanders. This battalion [DKBA Battalion #901] is led by Company Commander Saw Htoo Ler and Battalion Sergeant Major Tun Sein.
The leaders of the KNU and their military [Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)] were very active in order to protect the civilians as much as they could.
The activities of the Tatmadaw took place in Kyainseikgyi and Kawkareik townships. The activities of the KNU, DKBA and the situation of the civilians also took place in Kawkareik Township. The [detailed] information which is related to these activities has been revealed above.