FBR REPORT: People in Karen State Face Attacks, Forced Labor, Land Confiscation and Disastrous Weather; FBR Teams Bring Relief
Karen State, Burma
22 June, 2011

In This Report:

Here is a compilation of information from Free Burma Ranger teams currently operating in several areas of Northern and Central Karen State.

  • Dooplaya District (Southern Central Karen State): Civilians used for cover, mortared villages
  • Toungoo District (Northern Karen State): Relief team report: Troop movements, shooting and forced labor
  • Nyaunglebin District (Northwestern Karen State): Crop failure and shooting
  • Papun (Muthraw) District (Northeastern Karen State): Relief team mission
  • Thaton District (Western Karen State): Relief team mission
  • Pa-an District (Central Karen State): Burma Army and Border Guard Force activities, forced labor and land confiscation

Dooplaya District, Central Karen State

On 5 June 2011, two columns of Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 373, commanded by Aye Min Soe, moved from Myine Tha Ya to Kyaute Ku in Win Ye Township. LIB 373 forced 33 people from Myine Tha Ya and Aplo Villages to carry loads and walk amongst them in order to use them as cover while patrolling. Seven of the 33 people were children and 19 were women, including four pregnant women and two carrying infants. LIB 373 also took goods from local shops worth approximately US$950, and fired mortars into Aplo Village which hit 15 houses. On the same day at 11:45am, they fought with Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA — pro-democracy ethnic resistance) Battalion 16. One Burma Army captain died and a soldier was wounded.

On 7 June 2011, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) attacked a Burma Army camp in Poe Si Mu, Kawtari Township. Infantry Battalion 283, commanded by Mya Htun Aye, was stationed in the camp. During the fighting, Burma Army mortar fire fell into and around some villages. The villages are Mae Ta Ler, Kwee Kler, Ler Klaw and Poe Si Mu. Three mortar rounds fell around Kwee Kler, three around Poe Si Mu, and many more into Ler Klaw and Mae Ta Ler villages. Two villagers were wounded and one killed in Mae Ta Ler Village:

1. Saw Lar, 17 years old, wounded on his left cheek and on his shoulder. He is now in the hospital.

2. Naw Ku Kyi, 25 years old with three children. She sustained injuries to her forehead, back and fingers.

3. Saw Kaw Buh, 7 years old, suffered a head wound and was taken to a hospital in Thailand, but later died from his injuries.

Saw Lar injured by Burma Army mortar, Dooplaya District

On 8 June 2011, LIB 201 operating under Division 22 in Mae Pleh Village, Kawtari Township, took several items from local villagers, including one cow.

On 11 June 2011 at 7:00am, Burma Army Infantry Battalion (IB) 81 forced 33 people from Kya Ka Wa Village to walk amongst them as cover from ambushes along the way to Ku Do Village in Kawtari Township. All of the 33 were adults aged 18 to 50, including 20 women. IB 81 also took 21 animals and 4 tins of rice from local villagers for food.

Toungoo District, Northern Karen State

Mission summary

The Toungoo District Relief Team went on a mission to assist internally displaced people in Northern Karen State. The mission ran from 10 April 2011 until 20 April 2011. We visited 9 villages in Maw Nay Pwer Area, Tantabin Township. The team wanted to make a Good Life Club (GLC) program but cannot enter villages, so we asked the villagers to come to us and we gave GLC shirts for children who came. The team gave medicine aid to 332 villagers.

Burma Army activity

Beginning 14 January 2011, Burma Army Military Operation Command (MOC) 9 sent food to camps in the area until 15 March 2011. MOC 7 has also been in the area and shot and killed Saw Oo Nya Mya, age 44 (previously reported here: https://www.freeburmarangers.org/Reports/2011/20110303.html).

The different components of MOC 9 have been active in the following areas (TOC = Tactical Operations Command, LIB = Light Infantry Battalion):

TOC 1: Aung Win – Kler Lah

TOC 3: Bu Hsa Kee

LIB 374: Maw Nwet Gyi, Leik Pya Lay

LIB 375: P’Leh Wah, Maw Pie Der, Kaw Soe Ko

LIB 539: Play Hsa Lo, Klaw Mee Der

LIB 379: Non Soe, Plo Mu Der

Situation of villagers in the area

Currently there are no new displaced people in the Maw Nay Pwer area, though the villagers there are subject to forced relocation and forced labor, and have been forced to carry food from Tha Pyan Nyint to Play Hsar Lo. In the Maw Nay Pwer area of Tantabin Township, there are 11 villages but only three of the villages have schools. Villagers would like to build a new school but cannot afford to pay teachers and are also afraid of the Burma Army.

Team summary

The FBR team distributed radio equipment to local people to provide early warning and coordinate village evacuations in case of Burma Army attack.

Thanks for your support and helping these team make a difference bringing help, hope and love in Karen State, Burma.

Thank you and God bless you,

Toungoo District FBR


FBR team trains villagers to use radios for early warning of attacks, Toungoo District

Nyaunglebin District, Northwestern Karen State

Many villagers in Mone Township, Nyaunglebin District, earn their livelihood through “slash and burn” farming. Each year, the vegetation from a patch of hillside is cut and burned to prepare the land for rice farming. However, because of early rains this year, farmers are struggling to burn off trees and other vegetation in preparing for planting. All of the villagers’ income used to get food, medicine and their children’s education comes from farming. This information reported on 29 May 2011 by Saw Paw Ler Htoo of Yaw Ki village.

Also in Mone Township, teams reported that on 4 May 2011, Burma Army MOC 10 based at Le Pa Camp shot and injured one woman.

Villagers unable to burn off fields for planting, Nyaunglebin District

Papun (Muthraw) District, Northeastern Karen State

On 27 May 2011, two battalions of MOC 9, LIB 376 and LIB 541, arrived at Hkay Pu camp and stayed there. In May, FBR teams did a relief mission in areas of Muthraw District, visiting 3 different IDP sites and one other village. Medics treated patients and the teams left Good Life Club materials for students in the schools, which were not currently in session.

Thaton District, Western Karen State

FBR teams have been on a relief mission in Pa-an Township, Thaton District, Western Karen State, giving medical care and doing Good Life Club programs for children. During one program, approximately 500 adults and over 700 students from 19 villages attended. In the local area villages tend to be larger than in other parts of Karen State, ranging from 100 to 400 households per village.

While the DKBA has previously been very active here, there are no longer any DKBA troops in this area and Burma Army activity is reduced. As a result, it has been easier for relief teams to enter and operate in the area.

Rangers sing for children, Thaton District
Ranger medics do eye checks, Thaton District
Saw Hku Htoo, age 3, born blind, Thaton District

Pa-an District, Central Karen State

Lu Plen Township Burma Army and Border Guard Force (BGF) activity

1. Situation of Burma Army

The Burma Army units active in Lu Plen Township have a plan to attack the KNU and they have a plan to build the car road, bridge and new town to be developed in the area they control. In the middle of March the Burma Army sent its soldiers to Klaw Ka Ti Village to build a new town. Listed below are names and positions of the authorities who plan to build the new town. When the authorities arrived at Klaw Ka Ti, they measured the land area to build the hospital, school, library and animal husbandry. They have already built two roads, one from Lu Plen to Mae Tha Wa and another from Mae Tha Wa to Ma Ner Plaw area.

The road is built to send food to the Burma Army camp, and both the Burma Army and BGF provide security for the road. This is part of a plan to build a new bridge to Thailand to be used for business. In the middle of March, government authorities measured the area to build the bridge. A BGF group sold a plot of land for about 300,000 kyat (US$300) and they use the money to build the road, bridge and to help the handicapped from BGF.

The government authorities who have a duty for Klaw Ka Ti new town building are:

  • Oo Aung Than (Burma Police camp commander)
  • Tun Tun Nai (Authority of photo and voice)
  • Min Myoe Za Ni (Town Development)
  • Saw Kyaw Soe (Border development)
  • Than Oo (Electronic caretaker)
  • Oo Hla Tun (Building)
  • Dr. Than Htat (Sanitary)
  • Oo Nyain Ha (Cultivation)
  • Oo Aye Win (Land surveying)
  • Zaw Aye Aye Aung (Communication)
  • Oo Nyute Win (forest caretaker)
  • Dr. Ya Nai (Animal husbandry and treatment)
  • Aye Maung Than (Immigration)
  • Naw Htwen Has (Education)
  • Kyaw Thain (Electronic)

2. Situation of Border Guard Force

BGF Battalions 1011 and 1012 are based in Lu Plen Township. Battalion 1011 is at Ka Wee Wen Kee between the villages of Wal Daw and Ta Kot Poe, and Battalion 1012 has a camp at Thay Bay Hill between Kwee Lay and Htee La Nen villages. They are still building these camps. The BGF troops are under Burma Army command and must obey Burma Army orders. The BGF forced the people who stay beside Kaw Taw to Mae Tha Wa road to build the road. The Burma Army and BGF have demanded forced labor from nearby villagers: they are forced to help build their camps and carry food to the camps.

The people who live on the hillsides in the area do slash-and-burn cultivation. This year the weather is not good enough, so the people could not burn their field for the cultivation and their fields are destroyed.

The situation of SPDC and BGF activity at Ta Nay Cha Township, East Daw Na Mae Plet Toe area

There are four BGF battalions in East Daw Na, Mae Plet Toe area in Ta Nay Cha Township: Battalions 1017, 1018, 1019 and 1020. The overall commander of the four battalions is Maung Chit Thu. Battalion 1017’s commander is Saw Di Di and their camp is at Za Yat Pyu Goe between Mae Plet Village and Whin Shan Village. Battalion 1018 is commanded by Saw Maung Win and their camp is in the Boo Gaw Kloe area between Htee Law Theet Village and Saw Kho Village. The FBR team documented names of 32 villagers from whom land was confiscated by Battalion 1018 for their camp.

Battalion 1019’s commander is Saw Len Thay and their camp is in villagers’ fields in Maw Naw Ku. The villagers’ fields were taken by force. Battalion 1020’s commander is Son Hla, based between Pha Klue Village and Lo Baw Village.

In 2006 and 2007, the Karen Peace Force (KPF) group was based in Ta Nay Sha Township and starting in 2007, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and Karen Peace Council (KPC) invited businessmen to begin logging in the area of Mae Plet Toe and Thoo Mwen Toe. When they entered they built roads from Klay Kee Village to No Kay Village, from Saw Kho Village to Hto Kot Koe Village, from Hto Kot Koe Village to Thoo Mwen Village and from Thay Kar Kha Village to Htee Wa Klay Village. There are also many car roads near Daw Na Hill.

In 2010, the DKBA units in the area changed to Border Guard Forces (BGF). As this happened they also worked with the KPC to do business along the border. On 15 April 2010, Chinese specialists came to the Mae Plet Toe area to search for oil. Two Burmese companies, Chit Lay Myai and Zin Ka Ba, are already active in the area. Chit Lay Myai Company is organized by Maung Chit Thu and Zin Ka Ba Company is organized by U Khin Shwe.

Beginning on 5 May 2011, the KPC plan to build the road at Htee Wa Klay to Thoo Mwen and organized by Maung Shwe Kyaw. We see often that when companies do business in this area the people’s lands are taken; the fields and gardens in Mae Plet Toe are destroyed and security is difficult. On 8 April 2011, leaders of local villages were ordered to have a meeting at Kot Koe. They were told by BGF Commander Maung Chit Thu that they must send new soldiers. After the meeting the village leaders said that they could not give the soldiers because they have to provide new soldiers every year, but they were ordered to do so regardless. Maung Chit Thu required that the soldiers be between 18 and 45 years of age and 5 feet 4 inches tall. They must be sent by 27 April 2011. Villagers who did not want to become soldiers had to pay 50,000 Baht (US$1,600). The table below shows how many soldiers each village was required to send.

BGF forced conscription orders by village in the Mae Plent Toe area, Ta Nay Char Township



No. of soldiers demanded


Thi Wah Pu



Lo Baw



Thay Dho Kwee



Saw Kho



Ker Gaw



Htee Son Rah



Htee wa Blaw



Koe Ko Village



Htee Ko Htaw Village



Then Po Village



Mae Plent Hta Village



Thay Ka Ya village



God bless you,

Pa-an District FBR

Building New Road, Pa-an District
Forced Labor, Pa-an District