Situation Update | Paingkyon Township, Hlaingbwe Township and Nabu Township, Hpa-an District (November 2016 to October 2017)
The following Situation Update was received by KHRG in November 2017. It was written by a community member in Hpa-an 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 Hpa-an District, including one other situation update, two interviews and 15 photographs.
Human rights violations continue to be committed in Ta Kreh [Paingkyon] Township. The Burma/Myanmar government and the Telenor [Company] are cooperating to establish a telecommunication tower. Burma/Myanmar government state leaders have authorised the Lu Pleh Township administrator and the Ta Kreh town administrator to cooperate with the Telenor Company for this telecommunication project in H--- village, Peh Kru village tract, Ta Kreh Township. They have started assembling the electrical wires by digging out soil and constructing a channel from Lu Pleh [Hlaingbwe] Town to Kawkareik Town. After they finished constructing the channel and placed the electrical wires inside, they covered it [the channel] with soil. The depth [of the channel] is approximately four feet. As they were digging besides the vehicle road, it [the construction of the channel] severely damaged villagers’ farmlands, porches, rubber, bean, and mustard plantations.
The construction was initiated from I--- village, Plah Saw village tract, J--- village, K--- village in K’soe village tract, L--- in Ta Kreh village tract, M---, N---, and O--- villages in Peh Kru village tract, P--- village in Kye Too Ray village tract, Q--- in Htee Poe Tray village tract, R--- village in Paw Yay Poo village tract, S--- village in Paw village tract, and T---, U---, V---, W---, and X--- in Taw Soe village tract, Ta Kreh Township.
This project has been conducted since early December 2016 and was completed in the end of January 2017 but the project could potentially restart in Ta Kreh Township.
In T’nay Hsah [Nabu] Township, the Burma/Myanmar government and a Telenor [Company] manager cooperated to dig out soil beside the vehicle road, which damaged the villagers’ farmlands, porches and rubber plantations. This dissatisfied many villagers. The construction of the vehicle road and the bridge construction was also a barrier for local civilians travelling because all travellers had to avoid the unfinished constructed road and instead travel via a longer curved road.
In mid-September 2016, there were clashes between the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army [DKBA splinter] and the Border Guard Force [BGF] in Lu Pleh [Hlaing Bwe] Township. Consequently, villagers have been displacing from their villages. Villagers did not feel safe to return to their villages because the DKBA [splinter] laid landmines within their village areas.
After January 15th 2017, four [soldiers] in the DKBA splinter group led by Hpa Ta Kee patrolled around Kaw Ka Ti army camp near the Moe Pyan [Tatmadaw] camp. Meanwhile, the KNU/KNLA Battalion #21 and Lu Pleh Township KNU authorities were monitoring the forest and accidently encountered the DKBA [splinter group]. The DKBA [splinter group] started firing at the KNLA soldiers but the KNLA retreated without firing back. Two KNLA soldiers suffered minor injuries. The KNU/KNLA, BGF and the Tatmadaw all are operating on a high security alert in Lu Pleh Township.
The BGF Commander Dee Ter Ler is under the control of Commander Kya Aye, Cantonment Area #2. BGF Battalion #1015 is based in Paingkyon Township. In October, they attacked the DKBA [splinter group] in Meh Prow village tract. BGF and DKBA attacks occurred on October 15th 2017 in Y--- village, Meh Prow village tract. Again, on October 23rd 2017 at 9:00 AM, another attack occurred in Z--- village, Meh Prow village tract but the villagers were no longer living in the village at that time; they had already moved to Hkaw Taw Poo [also known as Myaing Gyi Ngu] village since October 2016 [due to the conflict situation]. They [BGF] are planning to make stronger attacks in the future. The BGF Battalions involved in the Meh Prow village tract attack include Battalions #1012, #1014, #1016 and #1020, as well as Tatmadaw Division #22, Military Operations Command [MOC] #12, Light Infantry Battalion [LIB] #338 and LIB #339.
On October 5th 2017, Border Guard Force [BGF] #1015 led by Commander Dee Ter Ler confiscated villagers’ land in Yay Pu Kyi village, Yay Pu Kyi village tract, Paingkyon Township. The lands of 11 villagers were confiscated by BGF and the land was sold [by the BGF] to other villages. In mid-October 2017, the BGF Commander Dee Ter Ler also began constructing a pagoda which is currently still under construction [as of October 2017].
Logging and taxation committed by KNU/KNLA-PC
In T’Nay Hsah [Nabu] Township, Peace Council [KNU/KNLA-PC] Battalion #776 Commander Hpah Htaw and his soldiers conducted logging in P’Ta Hkee Mountain near E--- village, F--- village, G--- village which are located in May Loh Baw village tract. The PC soldiers earn [additional] income by logging [near the village]; this violates customary land use practices. The KNU/KNLA-PC Battalion #774 and 776 also demanded [from villagers] a tax for wild yam, fish traps and fish nets. The taxes collected by the KNU/KNLA-PC soldiers was used for their own personal benefit because villagers did not receive any receipt [explanation for what the tax money is used for] and moreover, because the leaders [of the KNU/KNLA-PC] also did not know about the incident [unaware that KNU/KNLA-PC soldiers are taxing villagers for their own benefit].