Villagers forced to vote “yes” in SPDC referendum election
On 8 May 2008, in Ho Hae Village, the Chairman of the Village Peace and Development Council forced 250 villagers to vote “yes” for the new constitution drafted by the SPDC. The chairman voted yes for all villagers who did not know how to vote. Ho Hae Village is in Maing Khon village group, Kyaing Township, eastern Shan State.
Earlier, on 20 April, five villagers voted “yes” for 1350 villagers in Maing Inn Village group by the order of the Chairman of the Village Peace and Development Council in Kyaing Ton Township, eastern Shan State.
Burma Army Shoots Villager Without Reason
On 6 February, 2008, 17 soldiers entered Nam Hin Village and shot a villager for no apparent reason. The bullet passed through his cheek, destroying his upper teeth. The soldiers were led by Burma Army Captain Ngwe Hlaing, LIB 221. The village is in Kyaung Ton Township, in the Eastern Shan State. The team interviewed a neighbor afterwards.
Interview with a villager from Nam Hin after the shooting. (LRT refers to Lahu Relief Team)
LRT- Please tell your name and your occupation?
Villager- My name is Cha Mu. I am a farmer and working at a hill farm.
LRT- I heard the Burmese soldiers come frequently to your village. When they come what work do you, the villagers, have to do for them?
Villager- When they come I ran away to my farm. The village chief looks for chickens for them and if he can not get chicken he has to kill a pig for them. When we leave our homes they steal our chicken and eggs.
LRT- Then what do you do for them?
Villager- We carry their equipment and rations as porters wherever they want to go. They carry only their guns and we carry all the rest of their things.
LRT- When they come how many days do they stay in village and how regularly do they return again?
Villager – They have come ten times this month. We carry their things 3 times a week. Because we always have to work as porters, we cannot do our own jobs.
LRT- Did you hear that a troop shot a villager in Nam Hin village?
Villager- Yes, It was near my home and I went to see what had happened.
LRT- Why did they shoot?
Villager- I do not know exactly, we cannot find a reason.
LRT- Could you tell me details of the incident?
Villager – On that evening we came back from the hill farm, Cha Mu returned from visiting his friend’s home. As he entered into his compound, a soldier called him and shot. The bullet passed through his two cheeks and destroyed all his upper teeth.
LRT- What happened after the shooting?
Villager- That time Cha Mu’s mouth was bleeding and I thought he might be dead. Soldiers dragged Cha Mu to the path at entrance of the village and the jungle. The soldier pretended he thought Cha Mu entered the village with a gun, and said that was why he shot. After two hours the commander came to him.
LRT- Did the commander take any action against that soldier?
Villager – I saw he beat and kicked him. Then he said to Cha Mu’s parents that he would give treatment well and brought him to Mandalay. After a month, Cha Mu came back from Mandalay. His parents borrowed and paid 500,000 kyats for medical treatment. Now Cha Mu has no upper teeth and his face is ugly. His parents say they do not know how they can pay back their debt.
Villagers Forced To Leave Their Village To Work As Porters
The Burma Army forced villagers from Htaw Day Village to porter for them two to three times a week every week from 7 November 2007 to 1 January 2008. Because of this oppression, nine families have been forced to leave and only seven households remain. Villagers are afraid that if every family leaves the Burma Army troops might take action against the village chief.
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