Htee Tha Daw Htah village tract leader Kyaw Dah Dah disappeared in April, 2015. At the time of his disappearance, Kyaw Dah Dah was 52 years old. He was originally from Meh Lah village and had a wife and four children. According to the suspicions of local people, former Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) Commander Pah Mee was behind Kyaw Dah Dah’s disappearance. KNLA Commander Pah Mee is notorious in Hpapun District and is well known as being associated with several armed groups: the KNLA, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and the Border Guard Force (BGF). He has committed serious human rights violations in the area and reports of Commander Pah Mee’s actions have caused widespread fear amongst villagers in Hpapun District and beyond. According to the KHRG Community Member who collected the information, it is known locally in Bu Tho Township that prior to Kyaw Dah Dah’s disappearance, Commander Pah Mee ordered that the village tract leader be arrested on April 15th 2015. There is some speculation as to the reasons behind Commander Pah Mee’s order to arrest Kyaw Dah Dah, however villagers have indicated that the problems between the two men may have initially stemmed from Commander Pah Mee’s displeasure with the village tract leader over discrepancies in Kyaw Dah Dah’s collection of elephant tax, his supposed lack of support in running a newly established Brigade 5 headquarters, and a dispute over the number of guns distributed to Kyaw Dah Dah by Commander Pah Mee. These suspicions are supported by the testimony of a witness familiar with the situation in Bu Tho Township, who spoke to the KHRG community member. The witness visited Commander Pah Mee at his house on April 16th 2015. Travelling to Commander Pah Mee’s house by boat, the witness explained that as they docked the boat, they saw the head of the local Home Guard Kyaw Heh Noh, who had recently been appointed to the position by Commander Pah Mee, drag Kyaw Dah Dah along the ground to Commander Pah Mee’s house and then tie him to a post. The witness met with Commander Pah Mee as planned. Also at Commander Pah Mee’s house were Commander Eh Roe, Pah Htee Ghay, Pah Naw Day and DKBA Company Commander Maung Thein Win. After the visit, as the witness left, they saw that Kyaw Dah Dah had been moved and was tied to a tree which was in the sun. His hands were tied behind his back and he was sweating.
A week following the events described above, a dead body was found floating in the Salween River. According to the KHRG Community Member, the body was first found by children who were too afraid of the local armed groups to let anyone know. It was later found by a Meh Lah villager, who knew Kyaw Dah Dah and was able to confirm the body was his.
Following Kyaw Dah Dah’s death, more information was revealed of his suffering under Commander Pah Mee. According to local people, one incident occurred when Commander Pah Mee had previously arrested Kyaw Dah Dah and beat him with the barrel of an assault rifle. Kyaw Dah Dah returned to his wife covered in bruises but would not tell her how he got them, saying only that he fell down and asking her to rub ointment on them. Having now learned of her husband’s suffering under Commander Pah Mee, Kyaw Dah Dah’s wife is in great distress.
The KHRG Community Member spoke to another witness regarding the village tract leader. The witness described how Kyaw Dah Dah had come to him not long before his disappearance, asking for help. He wanted to be replaced as the Htee Tha Daw Htah village tract leader as he was afraid of Commander Pah Mee and felt he could not serve as a village tract leader under him anymore. He appealed to the witness not to let Commander Pah Mee hear about the conversation between them, out of fear he would be beaten again. As he asked the witness to help him, he was emotional and couldn’t speak properly.
The KHRG Community Member received information that the individual who carried out the killing of Kyaw Dah Dah, under Commander Pah Mee’s orders, was a DKBA soldier under the command of DKBA Commander Maung Thein Win.
Based on the information provided above, it appears that Commander Pah Mee committed serious, violent abuse of the Htee Tha Daw Htah village tract leader Kyaw Dah Dah over a sustained period of time. His order to arrest Kyaw Dah Dah prior to his disappearance, and witness testimony of Kyaw Dah Dah being tied up outside his house, strongly implicate Commander Pah Mee in the village tract leader’s murder. KHRG has since received information that Commander Pah Mee, along with his deputy, was killed by his own supporters. Further information regarding this will be published as it is received.