Short Update | Bu Tho Township, Hpapun District (May and June 2015)
The following Short Update was received by KHRG in June 2015. It was written by a community member in Hpapun 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.
[Biographical information of villager injured by landmine:]
Name: Saw A---
Age: 40 years old
Village: B--- village
Family: Has five children, two female and three male
Landmine injury location: [Somewhere] Between Y--- [forest] and Z--- [forest]
The distance between where the incident happened and his hill farm is: 150 yards
Landmine incident date: Four in the evening, it was on Saturday (May [16th] 2015)
When he was first injured by the landmine, people did not dare to go and get him [from the location where he was injured]. Later on he was taken to Hpapun [Ka Tin Ta Ya] Hospital at 6 pm and he arrived at Hpapun Ka Tin Ta Ya Hospital [shortly] after 11 pm. His leg was amputated at 1 am in the morning on Monday. When he was taken to the hospital there were 20 villagers who accompanied him to the hospital. In the evening, after his leg was amputated, the Burmese [Tatmadaw] soldiers came to him and brought him some juice and snacks in a hand basket and they said, “That was not our landmine, if it were our landmine you’d already be dead.” I also asked Saw F---’s [Saw A---’s] wife and she said that it was a KNU [Karen National Union] landmine. She also said that she heard two other landmines had exploded after her husband was injured. She told me that another six landmines have been planted, as well. I asked her why and she replied that she doesn’t know. He [Saw A---] went to somewhere between Y--- [forest] and Z--- [forest] with a gun for [the purpose of] hunting and he still remembers that when he was injured, he was bleeding and his dog was licking his blood. Beside the location where he got injured by the landmine there is a road that Burmese [Tatmadaw] soldiers travel [on frequently]. There is a mountain and a valley between the road and the place where the landmine was planted and [he] did not know who planted the landmine. He [Saw A---] said he was injured by the landmine because he did not know the landmine was there.
I questioned him on June 6th 2015, in the evening, at 4:30 pm, and he was saying that he has been staying in the hospital for [the past] three weeks. Currently, he is still in Ka Tin Ta Ya hospital. It was his left leg that was injured by the landmine.
I met with villagers from C--- village and the villagers told me about forced labour ordered by the BGF [Border Guard Force]. On June 12th 2015, a group of BGF soldiers [led by code name] Plah Thoo [Company Second-in-command Moe Hein] and Plah Yu Say, under BGF Battalion #1014 ordered the villagers from C--- village, Meh Pree village tract, Bu Tho Township, Hpapun District, to go and work (carry water, find vegetables and firewood) for them in their camp. Five villagers had to go and work in the camp for three days and then another five villagers had to replace them after three days. The BGF did not give any money to the villagers [for their labour]. [Some] villagers had to hire people to go and work [in their stead] if they were not free and they had to pay the villagers [they hired] 5,000 kyat (US $4.28) per day.
On June 15th 2015, many KNLA [Karen National Liberation Army] soldiers were [seen] coming into G--- village, Meh Pree village tract, Bu Tho Township, Hpapun District, and the villagers were frightened because they worried that fighting would happen between the KNLA and the BGF. Therefore, they ran into their bomb shelter. Then [later that day], the BGF came into the village and pointed at the villagers with guns and asked why they ran to hide in the bomb shelter and told them to come out. The BGF soldiers were led by Plah Thoo, under Battalion #1014.
On June 14th 2015, the Tatmadaw soldiers from LID [Light Infantry Division] #22 came into D--- village, Kyaw Pah village tract, Bu Tho Township, Hpapun District. There were 35 Tatmadaw soldiers and two BGF soldiers, 37 soldiers altogether, and they also brought heavy weapons with them. They also crossed [into] the [KNLA] delimited area. They did it because they heard that the Karen armed groups were holding a meeting in E--- [village and they wanted to demonstrate their presence].