Theft and looting

Theft and looting

This category abuse occurs when villagers’ possessions are taken by military actors, absent a prior demand being issued, which makes it distinct from an arbitrary taxation abuse. According to KHRG research, soldiers have entered houses to steal valuables and destroy other items during villagers’ absence, sometimes due to deliberate or indiscriminate attacks on their village or while villagers stay in their agricultural workplaces during the harvest season. Tatmadaw soldiers have been known to loot items from bodies of people they’ve attacked or summarily executed. These items have been reported to be: food supplies, livestock and other animals, essential household items, valuables, medicine and humanitarian supplies, and petrol. Villagers from all research areas have reported that this abuse has been perpetrated by soldiers from Tatmadaw, Tatmadaw Border Guard and ethnic armed groups. This abuse occurs during targeted attacks, and also when villagers are stopped at checkpoints, when they receive verbal forced labour orders, when arbitrary taxes are collected, when villagers are displaced. Theft is commonly backed by a threat of violence. In response, villagers have learned to hide items in order to protect them from abusers, and to deceive abusers regarding the quantity and location of their possessions.

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E.g., 2017-06-28
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