We are now at the village of Hee Daw Kaw that the Burma Army attacked and burned on 28 November 2005. We are here to further document what happened (one FBR team was here soon after the attack and that report was sent last month). We are providing a small amount of medical assistance and relief (rice, blankets, Good Life Club packs, etc).
In the midst of destruction it is amazing to see the resilience of these people. This is a beautiful village and must have been much more beautiful before half of the houses were burned down. The teams are now with the people here and they seem very encouraged and positive. We are glad we can be here with them at this time.
Yesterday we visited a 75 year old man who stepped on a landmine here 2 days after the Burma Army soldiers left his village. What a terrible thing to go through. It is bad enough to have your house burned down and your belongings stolen. To then suffer the agony of stepping on a landmine and losing your foot, simply because you desire to live in your own home, seems unbearable. The Burma Army laid three land mines in this village, one the old man stepped on, one was found in front of the church and one is still unaccounted for. The church itself is not burned down. The villagers believe that due to superstitions some Burma Army troops believe in, they are afraid to burn this church. However, this did not stop them from putting the land mine at the entrance of the church nor did it stop them from looting and then burning the peoples’ homes.
Two weeks ago, the Burma Army burned down a Karenni village (Gwe Ga Per), which is located two days walk north of here. Due to that attack and the patrols of the 6 battalions involved in the attack, over 1,200 Karenni people are now in hiding. A relief team is on the way there to help those people.
Last night we learned the Burma Army is planning to conduct another attack somewhere in this area in the next two weeks. We can not stop the attacks, but we can share what we have and be with them in the face of the attacks. Please pray for us and especially for all of the precious people here.
God bless you all,
Free Burma Rangers
Context of the Attacks. This report was sent out soon after the initial attack on Hee Daw Kaw village.
Update on the Attack: A new total of 1,900-2,000 IDPs, Nov 30, 2005. Toungoo District, Northern Karen State, Burma. November 26-30, 2005
There are now over 1,000 newly displaced people in addition to the 900 villagers who fled the attacks of Burma Army IB 75 (previously reported as IB 73) (Columns 1 and 2), for a total of between 1,900-2,000 IDPs. The Burma Army attacked Hee Daw Kaw Village, burned 30 houses and captured one villager named Sho Sar. In addition to the 900 villagers who are in hiding from this attack, there are over 1,000 newly displaced. these 1,000+ people fled from their villages and IDP hide sites further west of Hee Daw Kaw after they learned of the initial attack. 300 of the first 900 villagers are from Hee Daw Kaw, the other 600 are from the surrounding villages of Hoki, Sho Ser, Wah Soe, and Ha To Per. The new IDPs (1,000+) are from villages and IDP sites further west up to the Saw Wah Der village area, near the junction of the Mawchi-Baw Ga LI Gyi-Busakee roads, 35 kilometers west of Toungoo.
The Burma Army commenced the attack on 26 November. The villagers of Hee Daw Kaw fled at 9 a.m. on the same day, November 26, 2005. The Burma Army then burned down homes in Hee Daw Kaw (exact number not sure due to Burma Army patrols still near the village), on 28th November.
The Burma Army also used a small force of the Karenni breakaway faction Karenni National Solidarity Army (KNSA), in this attack. This pro-dictator Karenni group (KNSA), numbers 200-300 men and were formed in 2002 with the support of the Burma Army. They have been used by the Burma Army to attack the Pro-democracy Karenni resistance (KNPP), as well as IDPs in Karenni State to the east. This is the first major attack in Toungoo District of the Karen State in which the Burma Army has used the KNSA Karenni force.