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 areas. Saw 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