Situation Update | Thandaunggyi Township, Toungoo District (November 2016 to March 2017)
The following Situation Update was received by KHRG in June 2017. It was written by a community member in Toungoo 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 other information from Toungoo District, including four interviews, 14 photographs and 1 video clip.
This situation update describes events occurring in Daw Hpa Hkoh [Thandaunggyi] Township, Taw Oo [Toungoo] District, between November 11th 2016 and March 13th 2017, including Tatmadaw activity, education, healthcare, and livelihoods.
Tatmadaw Situation and Activity
Bu Yin Naung military section has confiscated villagers’ land in Kyon Kone, Nan Thar Kone, and Ywar Thit villages in order to retain the land as military training areas; this land was used to conduct the 48th annual Company Commander Training. From November 8th to 11th, they [Bu Yin Naung military section] came to the training area and conducted their training. Part of the training included shooting heavy weapons and small guns so the nearby villagers were afraid and did not feel safe going outside for work.
On November 1st, Military Operation Command (MOC) went to Ko Day and Th’Aye Hta villages and came back to Kler Lar village with eight soldiers and one commander. On the same day, the Southern Command Headquarters commander came up to Kaw Thay Der with five military trucks which were full of soldiers.
On December 7th, Tatmadaw troops transported rations to Kler Lar [village/area] with 15 military trucks. On the same day, MOC (Military Operations Command) #20 commander Aung Myo Than came back to Taw Oo Town.
On December 16th, Tatmadaw troops patrolled (for security reasons) the road from P’Leh Wa [area] to Klay So Hkee [area]. They also sent out rations with 19 military trucks to the military camps close by in the Kler Lar, Kaw Thay Der, Th’Aye Hta, and Bu Hsa Hkee areas. At the same time, they continued construction on the road in Th’Aye Hta area and extended their camps’ areas.
On December 9th, over 90 Tatmadaw armed soldiers came to Hplay Hsa Loh and carried with them artilleries/heavy weapons such as 60mm and RPG7 shells.
On December 11th, Tatmadaw troops transported rations to Hkeh Weh military camp along with 80 horses. On December 21st, Tatmadaw troops sent horses to Kleh Lar to carry rations. There were 23 military trucks carrying 113 horses to Kleh Lar [area] which arrived by 5:00 PM. The P’Leh Wa military camp sent rations through the water route with a motor boat which was full of rice to Yaw Lo (Kyoe T’ Ta) area. On December 23rd Infantry Battalion (IB) #594 sent rations from P’Leh Wa to Klaw Mee Der military camp with 120 horses.
On January 20th 2017, Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #581, under MOC #20, rotated its troops with LIB #581 in Hkeh Der, K’Thaw Pwe, Hkeh Weh military camp. The name of the Commander of LIB #581 is Aung Htet and the name of the Deputy Commander is Hein Zaw. On February 2nd, IB #26 came to rotate its troops with LIB #307 in Hsha Say Boh military camp; the name of the IB #26 commander is Nyi Nyi Maung.
On February 14th, LIB #19, under MOC #6, came to rotate its troops with LIB #603 in Shwe Nyaung Pin [area], Sethong Maing [13 Mile] and Setchauk Maing [16 Mile] military camps. On February 18th, Tatmadaw troops transported rations to Hplay Hsa Loh military camp [with horses] and then sent the horses back to town [Thandaunggyi Township] with 8 military trucks. On March 1st, the Tatmadaw sent rations to Thandaung Bu Yin Naung military camp with 12 military trucks.
On March 13th, 12 LIB #26 soldiers, led by Commander Nyi Nyi Maung, who were based in K’Hser Doh military camp returned to Hsha Say Boh military camp but along the way they crossed into a delimited area.
The education system in Taw Oo District is still weak because the quality of the education provided is poor and many do not have access to education. Government schools in this area do not receive enough school equipment or teachers. Moreover, the teachers do not care about the students’ education and are not fulfilling their duty to prioritise their students’ academic needs. These educational problems are particularly prevalent in the western part of Day Lo area and in the P’Leh Hoo Geh area in Daw Hpa Hkoh Township.
Similarly, local people in Ta Poo area, Daw Hpa Hkoh Township, have not had a chance to attend school because the government has not provided any schools for them. However, they have built schools for themselves to be able to attend school; students, parents, village heads and religious leaders have cooperated to establish these schools.
Regarding the health situation in Taw Oo District, the diseases/illnesses that were most prevalent during this reporting period were malaria, diarrhoea, and abdominal pains. Even in some Myanmar government controlled areas, they [the villagers] were unable to access any health services from Myanmar government, especially villages located in the Ta Poo area and the western part of Klay Wa area. Some villages [in Toungoo District] did not have health workers and some did [have health workers] but did not have enough medical supplies. Thus, it was difficult to offer treatment to sick patients. However, some local villagers were [trained] health workers; they bought and restocked the medicines and took as much care of the patients as they could. In cases in which they were unable to give treatment they sent the patients to nearby hospitals.
Local people in Taw Oo District mostly make their living as farmers. Local people in remote areas usually work on plantations (such as cardamom, betel nut, coffee, rubber, and durian plantations). By working on these plantations for their livelihood, some people were able to provide for themselves but some were not able to. Those who were unable to cover their daily food needs had to either do daily work on other peoples’ land or had to go out and work in other places such as the Moe Hkee area.
The local people that live in the plain areas mostly make their living by farming. Those who did not have any farmland had to work for those who owned the farmlands. As farming work is only available during the rainy season, the hired workers received only 50 baskets of rice for four months of work. Some people also worked as traders and retail sellers.
In my opinion, in the coming year, local villagers in Taw Oo District do not want to have any [Tatmadaw] military camps based in their villages. Villagers will feel secure if they [the Tatmadaw] withdraw their troops, remove their camps, and go back to their own places.