BURMA ARMY ATTACKS ON VILLAGES AND IDPS IN NORTHERN KAREN STATE.
Date of Attacks: 3 March to 17 March, 2002 and continuing as of this report.
Date of Report: 21 March, 2002
Report submitted by: A relief team assisting IDPs in Papun and Nyaunglebin districts of the Northern Karen State, February- March 2002.
On 3 March, 2002, the Burma Army launched an offensive against villagers and IDPs in two Northern districts of the Karen State, Papun and Nyaunglebin districts. These attacks follow the November 2001-January 2002 offensive in the same area. From Nov, 2001 to March, 2002, a total of 30 villages burned.
In March alone, the Burma Army has burned down 11 villages, planted landmines throughout the area, destroyed numerous paddy fields and rice barns, looted property as well as killing two villagers who could not escape. The offensive is now the most intense in the Papun-Nyaunglebin border area with 6 Burma Army battalions conducting search and destroy missions.
Many of these villages had just been rebuilt following their destruction by the Burma Army in November , December 2001 and January 2002. In and around each village were also many IDPs (more than 2,000 total), who had fled their villages deeper inside Burma due to earlier attacks. Some families have been on the run for six years straight. All these people are now hiding in the jungle and are vulnerable to discovery and attack at any time. The security of over 4,000 people in north-central Papun district alone is now in jeopardy as the Burma Army is attacking this areas from three directions, (from the north, south and west). This offensive has stopped the planting of new rice and as it follows the winter 2001 offensive that stopped and destroyed most harvesting, food is in critical need.
The Burma Army units involved this offensive are six light infantry battalions (LIB), from Divisions 10, 22,33 and 44. One regular infantry battalion (IB), is also operating in this area.
This offensive follows the November 2001- January 2002 attacks that destroyed 18 villages and left over 3,000 people homeless . These 3,000 new IDPs were in addition to the 1,800 IDPs whose hiding places were attacked by the Burma Army at the same time.
DISTRICTS UNDER ATTACK: Since 3 March ,2002.*
Villages burned down-3, villages attacked and looted-5, village rice paddy fields and stocks destroyed-5, persons killed-1, persons captured and tortured-1. 2,000 new IDPs.
- On 3 March, Ter Ber Pah village was attacked and looted by troops from 22 Division. Pah Kyaw Thay, male, was captured and tortured.
- On 7 March at 6pm, Kwee Tu village was mortared, machine gunned, looted and burned by LIB 207. Over 500 villagers from Kwee Tu and the nearby villages of Thay Ko Der and Lay Wah (which was burned down in Nov, 2001, with 2 villagers killed and 2 wounded), fled into the jungle and are still in hiding.
- On 12 March at 3pm, Kae Pa Hta and Htoo Hta Loo villages were looted and burned down by LIB 207.
- Over 300 new IDPs. Rice stocks destroyed. (The homes had just been newly built after the 2001 attack).
- On 16 March They Mu Der village was attacked and looted by IB 252. One man, Saw Kyaw Htoo was shot and killed by the troops of IB 252. Rice stocks were also destroyed.
- On 16 March, the village of Thaw Keh Hta was attacked, looted and all rice stocks destroyed.
- As a result of these attacks many of the villagers from the looted (but not burned) villages have also fled, bringing a total of over 2,000 IDPs in the affected area.
Nyaunglebin District: *
Villages burned down-8, villages attacked and looted-2, rice fields and rice stocks destroyed-10,persons killed-1.
- On 1 March the village of Paw Baw Pu was looted and rice stocks destroyed by LIB 366.
- On 3 March the villages of Kaw Mu Der, Ler Per Kho, Kho Hser Der and Mee See were attacked, looted and burned down by troops from LIB 362. These attacks continued from 3 – 14 March. All the villagers fled to the jungle with only what they could carry. There are now over 500 new IDPs from these villages.
- On 3 March, the villages of Kaw Hser, Saw Roh Kho, and Thaw Keh Kho were attacked ,looted and burned down by LIB 364. Over 300 people are now IDPs in hiding.
On 15 March, the village of Loe Khi was attacked and burned down by a combined force of LIBs 364, 366, 368 and 362, all from Division 10. The soldiers shot and killed one man , Saw Moung They Htoo, 45, son of Saw Baw Mu Gay.
- 1,000 total IDPs.
*For more information please contact the CIDKP at firstname.lastname@example.org
NOVEMBER 2001- JANUARY 2002 OFFENSIVE IN PAPUN AND NYAUNGLEBIN DISTRICTS:
From November 2001 through January 2002, the Burma Army attacked villagers and IDPs in Papun and Nyaunglebin districts. These troops burned looted and burned down 18 villages. They also looted and destroyed rice stocks in 6 other villages. A total of 6 villagers were killed, 8 wounded, 3 tortured and 4 are still missing. Captured villagers were forced to act as porters and human minesweepers. One entire village of 703 people was forcibly relocated. The Burma Army has heavily mined the entire area.
9 villages burned and looted by IB 19 and LIB 434 from Papun garrison, from 11 November until the end of January 2002. LIBs 11,119,111,4 and 76 also attacked from the west in Papun and Nyaunglebin district border area-Bilin river. Villages destroyed: Keh Pa Hta, Htee Ler Baw Kee,Khaw Hta, Ta Lay Gaw Der, Kaw Mu Khi, KNayuang Mu Do, Maw Lay Kaw, Lay Wah and Lay Po Kaw Hti.
- 2 villagers were killed when they stepped on landmines laid by the Burma Army. Myeint Soe Thin, male, and Pa Ta Roo, male, 55, widower with one child.
- 1 villager was shot to death, Saw Nobel, male, 25.
- 2 villagers wounded by gunfire. Naw Kay Hae, female, and Ta Mau Thoe, male.
- 2 other villagers wounded by landmines (names unavailable).
- 3 Schools destroyed and looted. 8 students missing.
- 2 porters died under the mistreatment of the Burma Army, 10 porters escaped.
- Over 2,000 IDPs.
9 villages burned and looted by LIBs 11,119,111,363,4,42and 76 during operation Thunder Strike. Villages destroyed: Htee Bla, Du Paw Lay, Naw Shwe Paw, Kayuk Paw, #3bde, #3 school village, Thay Ko, Chur Doh, and Ho Loe. Forced relocation-MaLa Daw village, 703 villagers, 5 Jan, 2002.
4 villagers killed- 3 captured and killed at Kaw Ta Sa on 23 Jan,2002,and 1- Po The Htoo, wife and 2 children shot on 11 Nov, 2001 by troops from LIBs 111,76 and 4, along the Bilin river.
- 4 wounded-Saw Hee, and 2 sons ,ages 2 and 4. Naw Bay Tha, female, 15, at Nu Kha village on 29 Jan 2002-all shot by troops of LIB 350.
- 3 tortured-1 at Ma La Daw on 5 Jan, 2002, 2 at To Ne De Der on 12 Jan 2002.
- 4 missing after LIBs 349 and 361 attacked Ber Poe Khi village on 26 Feb, 2002
- Over 1,000 IDPs (including those IDPs who had settled in this area after the Nov 2000 attacks.)
SPDC AREA DEVELOPMENT
Roads: The following roads are under construction and all are using forced labor.
- ShweKyin to dam site east at Kauk Kataung Naga.
- ShweKyin to Per Kee Der- bulldozer and prisoners along with forced labor.
- Maw La Daw to Bu Sa Kee- west-east road in the mountains between Sittang river and Bilin river, east of Shwe kyin. Now dry season only.
- KyaukGyi to Saw Hta (on the Salween river), now dry season only. Dam: A hydroelectric dam is being built at Kauk Katung Naga. 10 villages have been forced to relocate.
The foundation of the dam is now completed. Prisoners are being used to build roads to the dam and the project is being funded by a Japanese organization.