Remembering Rangers Who Gave Their Lives

27 May 2019


“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 (NIV)


This Memorial Day the Free Burma Rangers remember our fellow volunteers who have given their lives in the service of others.

Each ranger understands that by offering their service to oppressed people in some of the most dangerous places on earth they are risking their lives; such is the nature of their service and each willingly makes the choice to help and stand alongside the oppressed.

But with such effort and risk, there is a cost, and twenty-eight rangers have paid in full since FBR started in 1997.

Some gave their lives protecting others, such as Zau Hkwang, a 20-year-old Kachin Ranger, who died alone protecting Kachin soldiers that were retreating from heavy fighting in 2012. Shaheen Khalaf Shaheen was a Yezidi ranger who died of wounds he received trying to rescue a young girl who had been shot during the Battle of Mosul in 2017.

Others endured brutality for trying to help others, such as Saw Lee Reh Kyaw from Karenni State. During a relief mission in 2007, Saw Lee Reh Kyaw was participating in a Good Life Club program for children when the Burma Army shot him in the leg. The Burma Army proceeded to capture, torture, and then murder him. 

However, the threat from conflict seems small compared to another foe that rangers also face: disease. This is one of the major issues that our teams actively seek out and combat, with any FBR clinic held anywhere in the world inevitably working at, or beyond, capacity. Ranger teams are often the primary medical help available in the areas they serve and because of their commitment to stand with the people, they are also subject to the same vulnerabilities. Disease inevitably carries away rangers who throw themselves into helping people in these remote or inaccessible areasSaw Mya Win, a Karen team cameraman, died of malaria while helping his family to escape from a Burma Army offensive whilst Sai Lao, from Shan State, died of an unknown disease whilst on a relief mission.

Additionally, working in such undeveloped places means the elements themselves are a very real threat, with several rangers having drownedover the years and one being struck by lightning while on mission.

We remember their sacrifice:

Date                         Name                                Ethnicity                         Cause

2019                        Nema                                    Chin                              Motorbike accident

                                Sai Lao                                 Shan                              Illness

2018                        Min Min Naing                      Arakan                          Car accident

2017                        Mucu                                    Karenni                         Cancer

                                Shaheen Khalaf Shaheen     Yazidi                           Shot by ISIS sniper

                                Matteo                                  Karenni                         Motorbike accident

2014                        Mai Mg Mg Win                    Ta’ang                          Killed by Burma Army shell

                                Khine Htet                            Arakan                          Killed by Burma Army shell

                                Saw Poe Law                       Karen                           Shot by Burma Army

                                Saw Lai Mweh                      Karen                           Drowned

                                Saw Htoo Naw Than Aung   Karen                           Motorbike

2013                        P’Doh Hsa Doh Moo            Karen                            Illness

                                Saw Weh                              Karen                            Pneumonia

2012                        Zau Hkwang                         Kachin                          Killed by Burma Army

                                Kyar Shell                              Lahu                             Liver failure

                                Saw Ker Lay                         Karen                            Lightning

                                Hsaw Reh                             Karenni                         Drowned

2011                        Khu Neh Reh                        Karenni                         Landmine

2010                        Sai Yod                                 Shan                             Shot by Burma Army

2009                        Doung Nyo                           Karen                            Shot by Burma Army

                                Di Gay Htoo                          Karen                            Illness 

2008                        Chit Doo                               Karenni                          Illness

                                Shining Moon                       Karen                            Malaria 

2007                        Saw Lee Reh Kyar                Karen                           Tortured and executed by Burma Army

2006                        Saw Mya Win                       Karen                             Malaria

                                Saw Pah Paday                    Karen                             Landmine

                                Saw Mu                                Karen                             Landmine

2001                        Saw La                                 Karen                             Drowned

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8 (NIV)