Shan Free Burma Rangers Conducts Relief Missions in areas of Narcotic Production Controlled by Local Burma Army Militia

2 May 2014
Shan State, Burma

In this report:

  • Shan relief teams go on three-month relief mission through southern Shan State

  • Opium and Methamphetamines Continue to be Grown Locally

  • Military Activities in the Area

Shan relief teams go on three-month relief mission through southern Shan State

Starting at the end of May 2013, nine teams set out on a three-month mission through the mountainous regions in Southern Shan State.  This mission was conducted during the rainy season, a time when it is particularly difficult to transport supplies to many villages due to floods and washed out roads.  Despite such obstacles, the rangers treated 1296 people in 16 different villages.

Breakdown of Patient Diagnoses During Shan Mission

In the villages that rangers visited, they treated many patients, performed Good Life Club (GLC) programs (a children’s educational program), interviewed local residents to learn about issues in the area, and provided encouragement for the people they visited.

Residents in Ho Lom Village participate in a Good Life Club program.

In addition to regular mission duties, rangers assisted with agricultural projects, such as tending to rice paddies, and a variety of construction and sanitation projects, including the repair and maintenance of schools which had fallen into disrepair.  Overall, the general state of both education and healthcare facilities is poor.

One out of every three villages had no educational opportunities and those with schools did not teach above the primary level.  The villages of Pork Jong, Nam Dee, Ho Thart, Bang Bao, and Wan Mon all lack schools.

Access to food and water continues to be an issue in some villages.  Both Pork Jong and Nam Dee Villages report food scarcity, with foraging in the area necessary for survival.  Water scarcity also exists in Pork Jong and Won Mon.

As of the 3 April 2014, Shan rangers have confirmed a report that a clinic has just opened in Na Hla Village.

Of the 16 villages visited by the rangers, only Na Hla now has a clinic.  In Nam Dee, lack of medical care has contributed to a very high infant mortality rate.  Villagers currently rely upon traditional medicine created from resources found in the jungle.

Opium and Methamphetamines Continue to be Produced Locally

Rangers have reported that the production of opium and methamphetamines (locally known as Ya Ba) remain a problem.  In Nawng Loung Village, opium sales are controlled by the BA with opium being grown in large quantities.  In Long Ma O up to 95% of residents are users, which includes entire families.  Mark Loun Village remains a hub for transportation of drugs, with an incident of murder by the PMF as reported above.

Pork Jong Village is also reported as growing opium, with little personal usage by local villagers.

Muang Lum villagers do not use opium, but Ya Ba is used and sold in the village.

Military Activities in the Area

One and a half hours from Nar Yong Village is a People’s Militia Force (PMF – a National Defense and Security Council-approved force that gathers intelligence and collects taxes for the Burma government)  camp which runs patrols through Nar Yong.  The 50 men based at a local PMF camp use the villagers as forced labor, unless the villagers pay a bribe.  The PMF also prohibits the villagers from receiving FBR teams and demand a 350,000 Kyat fine if villagers violate this order.

Burma Army soldiers patrolling the villages that FBR teams performed relief missions in.

In Mark Loun Village, extortion of a similar nature of that in Nar Yong takes place.  However, in January 2013 the PMF killed a villager in Mark Loun Village for reporting to the SSA about methamphetamines transported through the village.

During the mission in Long Ma O Village, local contacts reported incidents of extortion by the Burma Army, which patrols through the village and demands food from the villagers.  Locals also fear travel to Loi Tai Leng as the Burma Army will punish them.

Villagers fleeing their village as Burma Army soldiers came near.

In Nam Dot Village the Burma Army also takes chickens and pigs, paying 30% of the value.

In Wan Mon Village the PMF Battalion 758 has reportedly conscripted men into the PMF from the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S).  The village is forced to pay if they wish to exempt their people from serving.

Lahu PMF from Muang Lum have been causing problems for villagers at Nong Dao Village by forcing locals to produce lists of Shan State Army (SSA) movements and activities in the local area.


Our relief teams in Shan State look forward to continuing to serve on relief missions this year, provide encouragement and to continue to share the news from villages they visit.


May God bless you,

Shan Free Burma Rangers