This is an update with photos of Burma Army attacks, murders, displacement and forced labor against villagers and IDPs in Karen State, Burma. There are no large scale offensives at this time but over 2,000 people have been displaced in attacks this week while villagers were shot to death by Burma Army patrols. Yesterday while doing a reconnaissance of a Burma Army camp, we saw Burma Army troops with villagers they were forcing to carry loads for them. In every area here that the Burma Army controls, they force villagers to carry loads and work for them.
In spite of the threat of punishment of death, the villagers attempt to avoid this work and actively support the resistance instead. But often they cannot avoid carrying loads for the Burma Army occupying troops.
Here 12 new FBR teams have joined the existing FBR teams in these areas and are providing medical and other humanitarian assistance. Over 2000 patients have treated and over 100 loads of relief materials have been distributed by the new teams. There is now a need for more medical supplies to help those displaced by the new attacks. (Thanks to PRAD and others who are sending more medical and food support and thanks to PRAD and GI for help with the early warning system of radios and other communications equipment that villagers use to warn each other and better escape impeding attacks.)
The following are reports from the teams themselves sent to our HQ team as we move through the three Northern and Western Karen State Districts of Toungoo, Muthraw/Papun, and Nyaunglebin Districts. There is also one report from Dooplaya District South Central Karen State where there is forced labor and a build-up of Burma Army troops- but no offensive yet. We have consolidated these reports and they are below as well as some photos and a map from one of the teams. Thanks for all your help and encouragement,
May God bless you,
A Relief Team Leader, Free Burma Rangers
Western Karen State, Burma
Attacks and Murders:
Two men killed:
On January 17: Keh Der village in Ler Doh Township, Nyaunglebin District, was attacked by LIB 367 under Military Operation Command 10. Ten houses were burned down. 2 villagers were shot and killed. One man’s name is Saw Mya Kaw Htoo. He is 48. He has a wife and 6 children (5 girls). The villagers ran before the SPDC attacked, but later some villagers went back to try to retrieve some of their belongings and that was when Saw Mya Kaw Htoo was shot. The second villager killed was Saw Ey Moo who was killed on the 19th of January 2010 by the same patrolling unit. Because of the early warning system everybody ran away before the Burma Army troops attacked this village or there may have been more people killed. Now the Burma Army is patrolling in this area of Kgaw Hta village and Keh Der village tract.
Two women and one man captured:
On January 18th the Burma Army shot villagers at Hti Aw Top and captured two women and one man in Mon Township, Ler Klah village tract. The villagers were on their way to selling their goods when they were captured and tied up. The three villagers names are 1) Saw Poe lae, 2) Naw Gu Htoo, 3) Naw Day Poe. There was 1 Burma Army column divided into 3 small groups. The troops were patrolling in the area and planned to meet a column from Ko Pla Lay Ko at Saw Ka Der area somewhere.
One man shot and decapitated:
Southern Toungoo District: On January 19.1.10 at 11:38am LIB 427 from Naw Soe camp shot at 3 villagers from Kaw Htoo Toe while they were harvesting bamboo. One villager, Saw Htoo Nay Wa was wounded. When the villager was shot one of the other villagers tried to help the wounded man. The Burma Army was chasing them and shooting and he could not help Saw Htoo Nay Wa’s intestines were protruding out of his body from the gunshot wound. Today, a FBR team responding to the attacks, found the decapitated body of Saw Nay Wa.
Attacks in Ler Doh, Nyaunglebin District displaces 1,000 people from 10 villages:
As per above report, the Burma Army burned Khwe Der village, killed two villager and displaced 10 villages. The villages are; Khwe Der, Kaw Taw Kee, Thur Kaw der, Thaung Nya Der, Kaw Hta, Ler Taw Loo, Day Baw Kee, Muki, Hti Law Kee, Ko Lu.
Attacks in Southern Nyaunglebin District displaces over 200:
On January 18th the Burma Army attacked Hti Blah village in Hsaw Hti Township, Southern Nyaunglebin District. Over 200 people fled their homes and the Burma Army looted and destroyed property in Hti Bla. (The home of one of our FBR medics is here and he lost his home and his belongings).
|Burma Army and porters carry water from village up their camp at Maladaw forced relocation site. Jan 18 2010|
In Toungoo District, Karen State Burma MOC 7 (Military Operation Command) commander Kyaw Myo Aye and TOC 3 (Tactical Operation Command) commander Yae Min stay at Kler La (Baw Glee Gee) camp, and LIB 542 (Light Infantry Battalion) commander Kyaw Zay Oo stay at Play Sa Lo camp.
On 12.1.10 LIB 542 forced 36 villagers to carry Burma Army food supplies from Lay Day camp to Play Sa Lo camp. Villagers from Play Sa Lo (4 female and 5 male), Yay Lo (10 female, 10 male), Glow Ba Der (2 female, 5 male) are forced to carry loads.
On 13.1.10 the Burma Army forced 87 villagers from Play Sa Lo (26 female, 21 male) and Lay Gho Lo village (25 female, 15 male) to carry loads of food for the Burma Army.
On 14.1.10 the Burma Army forced 40 villagers from Play Sa Lo (16 female, 21 male), Yay Lo (1 female, 1 male), Glow Ba Der (1 female) to carry loads of food for the Burma Army
On 15.1.10 the Burma Army forced 38 villagers from Yay Lo (2 female, 2 male), Glow Ba Der (6 female, 4 male), Play Sa Lo (13 female, male 11) to carry loads of food for the Burma Army
From 12.1.10 to 15.1.10 the Burma Army forced 201 villagers to carry their food supply from Lay Day to Play Sa Lo two times each day. They forced each male to carry 20Kg and each female to carry 15Kg loads each time.
On 16.1.10 forty more BA soldiers from LIB 542 arrived at Play Sa Lo camp
On 17.1.10 The Burma Army forced villagers including school students to carry food supplies from Lay Day camp to Play Sa Lo camp. The villagers forced to carry loads were: Naw Koo Htoo 16 years old, Naw Ka Moo 15 years old, Naw Nay Ree 16 years old, Naw Blu Gay Paw 14 years old, Naw Bway Moo 10 years old, Saw Eh Dee Htoo 9 years old, Saw Nay Do 10 years old, Saw Then Oo Kyai 40 years old.
On 16th January 2010 the teams did a program at Nwa Ta (Hti Ler Baw Ta village tract) and in that area there are over seventy families with at least five-hundred people total. There are four schools with nine school teachers with seventy-one students. In the area there are three orphan children. The father died in 2006 and the mother died in October 2009. The teams helped these orphans with what they could. These children cannot attend school, but we will try to send them to school next year.
The teams provided medical help and did a Good Life Club program in this village. We combined four schools from three villages and the teams treated one hundred and fifteen to one hundred and thirty people during the day.
Four porters escape from Burma Army camp
Four porters ran away from Ler Mu Plaw Burma Army camp on January 13. There are two Shan Burman Buddhists, 30 and 37 years old from Kachin State, a 41 year old Burman Buddhist from Daw Bo Township, and a 24 year old Shan Burman from Mo Gout east.
The four had been imprisoned in Myitkyina prison for two years on drug trafficking charges. They were mistreated in prison and moved to Pyinmana Cain Tha camp in October 2008 and forced to be miners. If they fell sick or could not work, they were beaten. They were sent on to Toungoo prison where they joined a total of 500 prisoner porters who were then sent to the front line of fighting against the Karen National Liberation Army.
When they got to Ler Mu Plaw camp in mid December 2009, they were forced to dig trenches, bunkers, foxholes, and carry loads, fetch water and firewood for all the Burma Army soldiers. They also had to carry out any Burma Army soldiers who were injured or killed in the fighting. The four men escaped to the KNLA’s 5th brigade company from where they will travel home.
Infantry Battalion 223, based at Ler Mu Plaw, has 28 soldiers at the camp, reduced from 45.
FBR teams in Nyaunglebin District, north west Karen state, report the Burma Army are patrolling in the villages around the Burma Army camps and stocking up on food and horses.
Other Burma Army Activity:
Burma Army situation at Ler Mu Plaw Camp
Now the IB 223 is at Ler Mu Plaw Camp. On top of the camp there are 23 soldiers, the middle of the hill 5 soldiers and there are no soldiers in the bottom. The troops have 4 artillery, one RPG 7, and 1 machine gun. In the very beginning the size of the troops was 45 soldiers, but now they are only 28 soldiers. The soldiers are very afraid. During night security one man takes 3 places and rings a bamboo bell every hour and another soldier takes his place.
Situation in Ler Klah village tract, Hti Kgo village
Today we received news that the Burma Army from Hti Ler Baw Ta and Koplalay Ko camps are patrolling. People here are worried about this. At Hti Ler Baw Hta camp the Light Infantry Battalion 370 arrived. All area IDPs are on alert.
On 12th of January the Burma Army sent 27 food trucks and 70 horses from Hsaw Me Lu to Muthe Camp and continued on to Paw Kay Ko camp.
20January; Mone Township: Villagers form Yulo village forced to carry loads from Hti Mu Hta (Moebya) Burma Army camp to Lay Day Camp. We saw the troops and porters through an opening in the trees but could not get a good photograph.
Dooplaya District, South Central, Karen State
Build up of Burma Army- two more divisional sized units arrive
Report on 18.1.10
Before 9 January in Dooplaya district there was only one Burma Army Military Operations Command (MOC). A MOC is a divisional sized unit with 10 battalions. They usually operate with 7 battalions forward and three in their base area. MOC 12 has been operating in Dooplaya District but now on 9.1.10 the Burma Army has reinforced MOC 12 with two new MOCs-MOC 19 and MOC 8. The reported purpose of the increased Burma Army presence in this area is to control the Mon State armed resistance groups that do not want to become a border guard force for the Burma Army. The second reason is to clear out the KNU (Karen National Union) from Dooplaya District. The Burma Army also uses the DKBA (Democratic Karen Buddhist Army), a Karen proxy force of the Burma Army, to fight the KNU. The Burma Army is sending more supplies than normal and are also including food for the DKBA. (Note: Some DKBA units report they do not actually receive the food supplies.)
|Burma army trucks transport supplies and troops to attack the Karen Dec 09|
15.1.10 South Eastern Command called Karen Peace Force, Karen Nation Union, and Democratic Buddhist Army for a meeting in Mah Lah May. The meeting is about becoming the border guard force but no group has responded yet as to whether or not they will take on this role and surrender their arms to the Burma Army.
FBR Team Activity report:
This is an excerpt of a report from one of the teams and is an example of how the teams report to us in the field
On 18th January, 2010 the team provided help, medical care, and did a GLC program at Hti Kgo. About 300 people came and over 150 people treated. The teams gave out children’s packages GLC T-shirts, Bibles, hymnals, and Lego toys to the children and the church. The teams did interviews of some people and a pastor.
|Good Life Club program for kids, 21 Jan 2010|
Today we left Hti Kgo and spent a night at Tawawpu. There the teams provided medical care and gave out mosquito-nets to the IDPs. There are 18 houses with about 100 people. The teams treated about 60 people. Most of the patient’s issues were coughing, ARI, and malaria.
|FBR team carrying relief supplies into Karen State, Jan 2010|
On January 18 at 2:40 PM a group of Villagers from Aung Soe Moe village went to their farm in the jungle. This is not allowed under SPDC control. However, it is what all villagers have to do to survive; they grow their rice and other crops in the jungle. So they went to their farm anyway and on their way home LIB 370 under Military Operation Command 10, shot them. Now three villagers are missing, two men and one woman. Nobody knows what happened to them, but they are feared dead.
January 19. Light Infantry Battalion 367, under Military Operation Command 10 attacked Htu Gaw Soe village. Before they arrived at the village, at 1:05PM they saw Saw E Moo on their way close to Htu Gaw Soe village and shot and killed him. He was 40 years old and has a wife and 5 children.
Right now 10 villages are hiding in the jungle, this is approximately 1000 people. They have limited food. They are fleeing and hiding in the jungle.
Now LIB 427 patrol has arrived at Naw Htee Kaw area (near Saw Wa Der area). Villagers from Saw Wa Der, Yer Lo, Ho Htoo Toe, and May Daw Ko villages all fled into the jungle and are currently living in hiding sites. Our teams are now at Klaw Ki village, Saw Ka Der village tract. The team provides medical help during the day and will continue.
Thank you for your help, advice and prayers. God bless you, the
Combined Ler Doh, new Karen, Karenni, and Kayan FBR teams.
Nyaunglebin District, Western Karen State