The Paan FBR (2) team conducted a mission to two townships and seven villages during May and June of 2004.
During this time period, the Burma Army did not conduct any military activities but continue to oppress the villagers through the practice of forced labor. Meanwhile, the DKBA (Democratic Karen Buddhist Army) is still performing military movements, trying to ambush the KNLA soldiers, robbing cattle and looting things from the villagers.
The villagers have to work hard to survive. The DKBA do whatever they want and Burma Army takes villagers and uses them for forced labor. Some villagers are demanded directly by the Burma Army to provide forced labor, and at other times they are commanded indirectly through the DKBA. The villagers are tired of DKBA oppression, but feel they can not do anything.
The DKBA’s military activities are still happening in the area of this mission. The troops move from their posts to villages and the human rights abuses continue. The Burma Army responsible for that area are Burma Army #772, tactical command. The commander is Col. Kyi Soe. He was posted with Burma Army LIB 313 at Klaw-ka-ti (Shanywathit SPDC camp) and controls all military activities and human rights violations committed by the DKBA and SPDC troops.
Column no. 1 of Burma Army LIB 313 are responsible for the areas east of the car road, which connects Kaw-ka-te (Shanywathit) to Kleddi Burma Army camp and includes the Kaypoklo village area. Column no. 2 is also responsible for the lower part of Klaw-ka-ti car road, which are Pawbaw-khi, Tighabluha, Lyaw-talay-kho, Tarae-po Kwi, Kamahta villages to the villages which are located in the area of Htiper. The permanent Burma Army camps are Hti-nya-li Kyo (hill), 706, Maetawday, and U-Kwe.
The DKBA are also posted in that area and conduct military activities under the control of Burma Army. Pa New, the Brigadier of DKBA #999, is posted at Lar-nay (Kwan-bi) and is in control of soldiers in that area. Saw Paw Peh is responsible for Takaw-be, Naw-te, Paw-ya-kyo, Patu-klaw Plaw to Plaw-nya-the villages. Saw Maw Eh, DKBA 999, is in control of military activities in Waw-kyeh, Rawhta, Kwi-they-po, Nya-ma-te Khi, Klaw Kyaw to Htiper villages.
Saw Toe-he is the brigade security officer and controls military activities in Hpa-I, Ta-moe, U-lah Klo, Tawei-kho, Pa-kay-kwe, to Takreh-ni villages.
The DKBA #555 is also conducting military activities and they are under the control of Pya Pya, who is the Brigadier of DKBA #555 Brigade, posted at Ta-kaw-poe (Takwetpo in the map). The troops move back and forth from their posts to the villages. Saw Daw Bo is responsible for Takwikla, Tawpo-toe, Htimawku, to Maekatu villages. The DKBA posts closely located to the team mission area are: Tablukla, Kwilay and Plaw-pa-ler villages.
During this trip, the relief team was able to reach villages located deeper inside than the trips completed in the past. The team had an active engagement with the DKBA but not with the Burma Army. The DKBA are still active were hunting the relief team, but the SPDC gave them no reinforcements. By the grace of God, we are all safe.
Other than Hlaingbwe hospital, there are no clinics or health workers assigned by the Burma Army or DKBA to the area. The villagers were very happy to see the relief team mission because medical assistance and medicine is greatly needed. The team medicine was exhausted very quickly after providing for them. Because of the changing weather and monsoons, almost all of the villagers were ill. Normally, the villagers depend on the traditional medicine to heal their diseases.
The general situation for the villagers is still unstable. The FBR team’s medical assistance is very useful because they could supply enough medicine and give medical care in places where there is lack of medicine and medical treatment for the villagers. The FBR Paan team were very happy to be able to do this mission because they could serve and fill in the blanks where our people have the most need. We appreciate the FBR headquarters’ arrangements for these missions to serve the people.
Human Rights Interviews
Name: Saw XX XX
Age: 88 years
Village: X X village
Family: 8 members
Q. Please tell me approximately how much the DKBA has fined you?
A. The DKBA #999, led by Tee Du, including five members who live in Larnay (Kwanbi), arrived at Htimohta village, and commanded me to meet him. Then they told me to pay 200,000 kyat because they accused me of having contact with KNU (the secretary of Takreh Township.)
Q. What was the date of that incident?
A. It was on May 18th, 2004
Age: 41 years
Village: XX X
Family: 5 members
Occupation: Farmer/elephant boy
Q. Tell me about the DKBA’s logging business.
A. Bo Kya Inn (second brigadier of DKBA #999) contracted the logging.
Q. Where do they work?
A. From Klehka to Maeme Plaw.
Q. How many elephants did they use in the logging?
A. There are 11 elephants in their logging. There’s an elephant from Ler Ser Day, two from Thimawku, and elephant from Maeprahta, and elephant of Maung Aye Thaung, and elephant from Tamoklo, Poe Hser Toe’s elephant, two elephants of Kyaw Poe Ro and two elephants from Pwehatw Roe village.
Q. What would be his objective for that logging business?
A. What he said was that he would build a bridge.
Q. How many logs did he gather?
A. Maybe 1,000 or 2,000 logs.
Q. Did he pay you anything for the elephant charges?
A. No, he didn’t
Q. Did he pay other people?
A. Yes, he did pay 100,000 kyat for the elephants from Thitmawku, 100,000 kyat for two elephants from Maeprahta, and 150,000 kyat for Pwe taw roe’s three elephants. The first grade of logs was sent to Hlaing Bwe.
Q. What kind of logs?
A. All kinds of hard and soft wood
Q. How often did your elephants pull the logs?
A. The elephants had pulled two times a day and able to pull only two logs per day. They scolded us when the elephants couldn’t pull the logs because of the hot weather. And they gave us bad rice of cheap quality which was turning yellow.
Q. When did you start to pull the logs?
A. We started from December 2003 and went until the beginning of the rainy season (2004).
Name: Saw xxx
Age: 32 years
Village: X XXX
Occupation: Hillside cultivation
Q. Please explain to us about how the DKBA ate your food without paying anything.
A. The DKBA commander who camped at Sakye Koh commanded chicken from three villages on May 2nd 2004. There were two viss from Pakwe Kwi costing 6,000 kyat, 2 viss from Tawekho costing 6,000 kyat and 2 viss from Tokyekwi. The total was around 18,000 kyat for three villages.
Q. Did they ask for anything else?
A. Yes, each of the families had to send a piece of bamboo to DKBA camp. The villages were Ta-wei-kho, Pa-kwe-kwi, To-kye-kwi, Takreh-ni, Hteiper villages. Again, the villagers had to sharpen the pieces of bamboo and bamboo spikes for the camp. They didn’t provide any money or food but we had to finish our work and had our meals at home.
Name: Saw XXXX
Age: 58 years
Families: 4 members
Occupation: Hillside farmer
Q. Please tell me about the DKBA orders given to you .
A. On February 13th, 2004 the DKBA company commander, Pa Maw Heh and Kyaw Lay Kin, along with 25 troops, entered into the village and butchered a pig, which cost 8,000 kyat, and then they proceeded to Nyamatay Khi village. Again, on April 21st 2004, another column led by Kaloh, entered into the village at 22:00 hours. Then, they fired 4 rounds of M-79 grenade launchers because they saw a spot of fire under a tree. On the next day, they asked for the cost of the five rounds of grenade launchers from the villagers. At that time, they asked again for three chickens, which cost 2,000 kyat, 5 bottles of alcohol which cost 1,500 kyat. After they drank, they proceeded to Nya-ma-tay Khi village.
On April 27th, 2004, DKBA, Saw Wah Dee led his column which posted at Kwe Baw, Naw Kha-rei Kyo, entered into the May-tu-hta and butchered a pig which cost 6000 kyat. After finishing their meal, they returned to the Nya-ma-tay hi village.
On April 29th, 2004, DKBA Saw Paw Peh led his men, entered into the Pay-tu-hta village, and butchered a pig, which cost 25,000 kyat, then returned to Nya-ma-tay Khi village.
Name: Saw XXXX
Family: 8 members
Village: X XXXx
Q. Please tell me how the DKBA murdered a couple.
A. DKBA security officer of #999 brigade, Tun Heh, sent May-ko-baw and Kar-su to murder a couple (Naw Bleh, 35, and Pa Thung Tint, 45). At 8 am, on that day in April, they fired a bullet at Naw Bleh and two bullets into her husband near the hut of Kho Thay Lu.
Q. Why did they kill these people?
A. They said they were witches.
Q. Where did they live?
A. In Waw Kyeh Koh, Hto-kaw-ko.
Q. How many soldiers were there at the place where they were murdered?
A. 8 soldiers.
Q. Did you have to go for forced labor?
A. Yes, on April 26th, our two villages, X XXXx and X Xx, villagers had to build them three rows of fences to be finished between two days.
Q. If they weren’t finished, what would they do to you?
A. They will torture us or force us or ask for our pigs or chickens.
Q. Have you served as a porter before?
A. Yes, we have served every month. We have carried rice, salt, chilies, twice a month from Hpa-Ie to Waw Kyeh Koh, which is a two hour walk.
Name: Saw xxxxx
Age: 36 years
Families: 8 members
Village: X X X
Q. Did DKBA troops take anything to eat by force in your village?
A. Yes, at 16:00 hours on March 24th, 2004 the DKBA security officer of #999 brigade, Saw Paw Peh, who lived in Nya-ma-tay Khi, led his 20 men and arrived at X X X village. Then they took a pig without giving anything. It cost 25,000 Kyat. Then they proceeded to Hti-mo-hta village.
Q. Have you ever served any other kinds of forced labor?
A. Yes, we had to repair a road, fences and clean the bushes along the road side. Then we had to fetch the firewood and serve as watchmen, and we should send information about KNLA (Karen National Liberation Army) troop activities. If we refused, we would be fined 6,000 kyat.
Name: Naw X X
Age: 57 years
Family: 6 members
Occupation: Hillside cultivation
Q. Have the DKBA taken things from your village?
A. On March 25th, DKBA security officer of #999 brigade, Saw Paw Peh, came from Mae-tu-hta village with his 20 troops. They entered X-X-X and ate a goat, which cost 13,000 kyat, without payment. Then they proceeded to Nya-ma-tay Khi village.
Name: XX X
Age: 60 years
Family: 6 members
Q. Have the DKBA abused you?
A. On April 22nd, 2004, the DKBA officer in charge, Pa Kadone, burned down my hut as well as one hand saw, 2,000 kyat, one ax, two spades, two swords, some utensils, 2 sarongs, and 4 shirts.
Name: XX XX XX
Age: 55 years
Family: 8 members
Q. Have the DKBA made you do forced labor?
A. Yes, we had to make a fence for the DKBA camp at Kwe-toe. The villagers from several villages have sent bamboo poles to them, totaling around 500. The villages were Pa-new-tha, Hti-po-ka-pei, Tareh-hta, Nat-gyi and Ler ger.
Q. Which DKBA asked you for the bamboo?
A. They lived at Pa-new-tha camp. The camp commander is Pa Pee and he is also responsible for no. 4 battalion DKBA #999.
Q. Do you have anything else to tell me?
A. Yes, we carried metal ore from the DKBA mine at Kwe-toe-pu to Pa-new-tha camp. They commanded about 100 villagers from Pa-gat and Ler ger to come, 80 from Ta-ngaw village, 25 from Hti-po-ka-pae and 500 from Pa-new-tha’s two villages. They gave 500 kyat for one load and the villagers were forced to carry the ore, which weighed around 1500-2000 viss.
Name: Saw X x X
Age: 35 years
Family: 7 members
Q. Please tell me if the DKBA has taken anything from your village?
A. On May 19th, 2004, DKBA #999 leader Paw Peh led seven soldiers and arrived at our village. He told me, “you are illegally giving treatment as a quack doctor” and fined me a goat, which cost 15,000 kyat.
Q. What are Paw Peh’s responsibilities?
A. He is responsible as a patrolling security officer between Pa-tu-klaw Plaw, Pay-tu-hta, Htimohta, Kwebaw, and Nyamaday Khi villages.
Name: Saw XxX
Age: 50 years
Family: 13 members
Q. Please tell me which DKBA group fined you.
A. On May 20th , 2004 the DKBA soldier Paw Peh arrived at our village with seven soldiers and fined me 25,000 kyat and a pig. He told me that I was fishing with a fishing net with an explosive bomb, therefore I should be fined.
Q. How many people paid fines to him?
A. Saw Pah Lu, 10,000 kyat, Kyaw Lar, 7,000 kyat, Taw Nyo, 2,000 kyat, Tu Lu, 2,000 kyat, Pee Hki, 2,000 kyat, Kyaw Lwe, 2,000 kyat. All together about 25,000 kyat.
Name: Naw X
Age: 45 years
Family: 5 members
Village: X-X-X X
Q. What was the reason that the DKBA fined you?
A. I asked for a recommendation letter from Pa Daw Bow, who is the commander at Maw Po Kla DKBA post, before I bought an ox from Takaw (Kya Inn) village for my farm work. When I was returning, at Maw Khi, on May 10th 2004, I met the DKBA company commander, Mya Win’s soldier, Pa Mae Lare. He accused me of smuggling cattle, and said I must be fined 50,000 kyat. I replied that I am not a smuggler because this ox would be used on my farm in X-X-X X village, and also I did not have any money to give him. Then, he took me to Maw Khi Burma Army camp and threatened me by shooting a gun into the air. He then fined me 150,000 kyat. He said again that if I couldn’t give the money, he would take my ox to Maw-po-kla and then to Yaw Po village where he lived. At that moment, he ordered me to hide under a bush because he saw his commander walking towards him. He forbid me to say anything to the commander.
Q. What happened after that?
A. Then I met with their leaders, Pa Dee and Pa Daw Boe. They said to me that they would get the money for me, but up to this point I haven’t received anything.
Q. Did you want to say anything about that?
A. I don’t want people to face the same experiences that I have had. Because the DKBA are also Karen, they should understand that we are the same nation.