Yesterday, on 10 April, we talked to a 28 year old Karen woman (Naw Bee Ko) who’s husband was shot and killed and her nine year old daughter wounded by the Burma Army. The family was fleeing from the Burma Army when the soldiers found them. The husband was carrying his 80 year old mother on his back when the Burma Army opened fire. She fell off his back and cried for him to come back and help her. When he turned to help her, they were both shot dead. In a hail of bullets, the wife gathered her three daughters (age 4 to 9 years old) and ran carrying her 8 month baby boy. The Burma Army continued to shoot, hitting the 9 year old girl on the side of her back, with the bullet exiting near her stomach. The family kept running and escaped.
We met them on our way to their area yesterday. We treated the wounded girl. Fortunately, the bullet had passed from her back out through her side with out hitting any organs and she is healing. During their escape, the girl’s wounds were treated by another family and due to their care there is no infection.We prayed for the girl and her family and they cried and cried for their father (husband), and grandmother.
As I looked at the crying mother and little girls, I saw that the baby boy was the only one not crying. ‘That could be my family’, I thought.
I have two girls ages 3 and 5, and a boy, six months old. If I was killed, my wife and little girls would cry but my little boy would know nothing . I thought I would want someone to help my wife and kids. We told them we could not fix their problem but that we would help them as best as we could. We re-dressed the wounds of the girl, Naw Eh Ywa Paw or “The Flower that Loves God”. We gave her mother some money and we reminded her that she was not alone. Other villagers who fled are helping her now, the resistance (Karen National Union) was helping her, we would do our best and people around the world would pray for her. I then prayed and thought about how I could help her in a tangible way. I remembered meeting a 23 year old pregnant Karenni woman who’s husband was beat to death by the Burma Army after they burned her village. Our relief team arrived at the destroyed village six days later. The people came out of their hiding places in a ravine nearby and I talked with the woman who’s husband was killed. He had gone back to the village after the Burma Soldiers burned it down, thinking they were gone and hoping to find some of his livestock. Burma Army soldiers were hiding nearby and shot him in the leg. He tied to run but was caught and then beaten with rifle butts until unconscious. The soldiers then shot him six times in the back, killing him. As his pregnant wife told me this story her three small children clung to her sarong and tears ran down her face. She kept asking me, “What will become of my children”. I realized that she had no time to mourn her husband. With him dead and her house destroyed, no food and now in hiding, who would feed her and her children? What would happen to the baby that would come in a month? With every one in the village in the same situation, who could help her?” I thought back to that and then decided I would try to at least give this new widow in front of me now something tangible to ease her worry. (This in fact is the second time she is a widow. Her first husband was also killed by the Burma Army. She had recently married his brother and now he too was dead). I wanted to do something, no matter how small. So I told her not to worry about her children or their future. I committed myself and my family to helping her family until her children were grown. I know there are many who have lost family members and she is not the first we have met. But as I prayed for her and her family, I thought and asked God if this should be an offer I should make. I thought it was good and felt no hesitation. So now we are committed to her. I told her I would tell my wife about this and I hoped one day I could bring my family and meet her. I told her that we were not rich and have no power. We can not solve the problem of her husband’s death and we not could save her. But we would stand with her whether she tried to stay here in the Karen State or go to a refugee camp. She smiled and softly said, “Thank you.” After we treated the little girl, Naw Eh Ywa Paw, she began to smile and lost her shyness with us. She was still smiling when we moved on to continue the relief mission. We prayed with this family and then we continued our mission, walking further west toward the place the family had run from. Thank you for your love and prayers,
God bless you.
A Free Burma Ranger
Note 1: First Husband was a Karen soldier (KNU/KNLA) and killed by Burma Army. Her first three children are from this marriage. Her second husband (killed March 27th 2006) was a farmer and the younger brother of her first husband.
Note 2: Same Incident is recorded in the interview that follows this one; Interview with Maw Kwa Kwa, 9 April 2006
- Name: Naw Bee Kho
- Age: 28 years old mother of four.
- Husband’s Name (killed 27 March 2006): Maw Keh. Age: 34 years Occupation: Farmer.
- Childrens’ Names from 1st Husband- killed earlier by the Burma Army:
- Naw Eh Ywa Paw (shot in the back) Girl, age 9
- Naw Paw Ka Pru Wah Girl, age 7
- Naw Paw Gay Wah Girl Age: 4
- Children’s Name from 2nd Husband- killed two weeks ago 27 March 2006.
- Saw Htoo Ka Paw Doh: Boy, age 8 months old
- Village: Ka Ba Hta, Mon Township, Nyaunglebin District, Western Karen State
- Religion: Christian
- Occupation: Farmer
- Education: None
- Birthplace: Awe Bala
“My family and I were hiding in an area near Ta Kweh Wah Hta. Many other families were there as well. When we had to move to another place, no one knew where the next hiding place was. My mother in law (80 years old), at this time was sick and could not walk. My husband carried his mother on his back. My husband, his mother and my 9 year old daughter went ahead of our main group. When we were walking up a ridgeline, Burma Army soldiers began to shoot at us. My husband’s mother fell off his back in the shooting. His mother called him and he went back to help her. The Burma Army then shot my mother in law in the neck and my husband in the chest. Both fell down and all of our group scattered. My 9 year old daughter ran to me and I saw that she was shot. At first she was able to walk on her own, but later she was not able to. I asked a friend that was with us to help me. My friend had two sick children that she and her husband were carrying. But my friend’s husband still helped and carried my daughter while my friend carried her children. We arrived at Thet Baw Der and asked for help. They sent us to Ka Hsaw Kaw and a nurse treated my daughter there. The nurse was worried about security because we were on the front line. If something happened it would be difficult for us to help each other. So the nurse advised us to move to a higher place. My brother in law came and treated the bullet wound to my daughter’s stomach. We then started moving again and have arrived where we are now. -End of interview-
Interview of Maw Kwa Kwa (Brother in law and mother in law killed, 9 year old niece shot in stomach.) 9 April 2006
Note: This is the same incident that is recorded in the interview above with Naw Bee Kho, 9 April 2006.
- Name: Maw Kwa Kwa Age: 34 years old
- Wife’s Name: Naw O Moo Age: 39 years old
- Child’s Name: Naw Wah Sti Nah Age: 3 years old
- Village: Ka Ba Hta, , Mon Township, Nyaunglebin District, Western Karen State.
- Religion: Christian
- Occupation: Farmer
- Education: None
- Birthplace: Thay Thoo Ke
Situation in Mon Township last year (2005): ” The Burma Army activity was as usual, patrolling, attacking and land mining villages.”
Situation in Mon Township this year (2006): ” The Burma Army has increased its activities”.
What is Burma Army doing? “They are patrolling around Ka Ba Hta area burning and destroying rice supplies.”
– In Nya Mu Ke village area (20-30 houses) they have burned 20 rice storage barns.
– In Lo Lo village in Kwae Ee Doh area they have burned 3 houses.
– They destroyed 100 tins of rice that belonged to Ka Ba Hta village.
– They stole 60 tins of milled rice from a KNLA rice storage barn.
How long have you been hiding? “2 weeks”.
How long have you been walking? “3 days”.
Where will you go?
“We will stay here and if the situation gets better in our area we will return.”
What do you need?
“What you see is what we have. We came without food and what we are wearing are our only clothes.”
“In March 2006, 3 columns of Burma Army troops from Ma La Daw, Mu Thay and Myaw Oo Army camps, came to our area. When we learned that the Burma Army was at Gwe Doh Kah village, we moved to Htee Neh Eh Lo village (1/2 hour from Ka Ba Hta village). We stayed at Htee Neh Eh Lo for two weeks. We learned that the Burma Army was increasing its activities, and were heading to our hiding place so we moved to Law Pla Ke village. On 27 March we began to move and the Burma Army started shooting at us from a ridgeline above us, while we were in an open area. My brother in law was carrying his sick mother who was 80 years old. When the Burma Army started shooting my brother in law dropped his mother. His mother called out saying “I’ve been shot, come back!” My brother in law went back for his mother. When he got to her both of them were shot and killed. The rest of the villagers and family scattered. After a while my niece who is 9 years old came back holding her stomach and told me she was shot but was able to keep walking. When she was no longer able to walk she asked her mother if she could be carried. But her mother was already carrying two of her younger children. We asked a friend to carry her. We were able to get to the Mon Township clinic and get treatment (dress her wounds) but they did not have enough medicine to give her. So we have now walked 3 days to get to another clinic to receive treatment and medicine. -End of Interview-