Rebuilding Futures the Burma Army Could Not Destroy
21 September 2023
Dooplaya District, Karen State, Burma
The following report provides information from one district of Karen State, Burma – Dooplaya District – sharing reports from FBR teams on the ground that show how the Burma Army has terrorized their own people, forcing thousands to flee their homes and places of work, hiding in the jungle as Burma Army soldiers strafe villages from Russian Mi24 attack helicopters or drop bombs from Russian YAK fighter jets. Over the last six months, local sources report frequent bombings in this area, including one instance in which 20 bombs were dropped in a single attack. During this time, Burma Army attacks have killed three civilians, including a 12-year-old, and injured eleven, many of whom were children. The Burma Army has continued their pattern of human rights violations by targeting their attacks at schools, clinics, homes, and religious centers. What the Burma Army has not done is stop the people from continuing their lives; the people have not given up. Over the last six months, Free Burma Rangers (FBR) and others in Karen State, as well as across the country, continue to rebuild schools, clinics, homes, and more, because, though they try, the Burma Army has not destroyed the people’s determination to fight for their lives and their futures.
The following is a chronological log, from Rangers in the field, of Burma Army violence towards the civilian population in Dooplaya District, Karen State, Burma, and FBR team missions bringing help, hope, and love to the oppressed. The information included here is not an exhaustive accounting of Burma Army activity but is limited to FBR reports from the specific area.
January – February 2023
From mid-January through mid-February, 2023, a FBR headquarters team was able to provide humanitarian aid, water filters, solar systems and other supplies, land navigation and communications training, English teaching to children and teachers, education about the dangers of Burma Army jet bombing and how to prepare, a variety of medical care, construction, and Good Life Club (GLC) programs for the villagers displaced by Burma Army violence in their home areas. Besides Karen internally displaced persons (IDPs), there were many Burmese IDPs from the Irrawaddy Delta Region and other parts of Burma who had fled to find work at the mines in Karen State. Some had to leave their families to come find work. Ruthlessly, the Burma Army has been bombing the mines in these areas, forcing many to live and sleep in the jungle and work in fear. Due to the threat of bombings, workers’ hours have been severely cut, affecting their wages and ability to buy enough food or basic supplies. Children in this area have not been in school consistently for the past three years – first due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and now because of the jet bomb threats.
On 21 January 2023 at 1:00 a.m., the Burma Army dropped five bombs in Lay Wah Ploh Village. Four of the five bombs detonated on a church, school, and work facility. One did not explode and landed on a hill near the work facility. One person was in a vehicle that was destroyed and was injured by shrapnel. The church had significant damage from the explosion of the first two bombs, the school next to it was completely destroyed, the site of the second two bombs about 400 meters in front of the school was a facility for local workers that was also completely destroyed along with two vehicles. There were about 100 villagers living in this area and many more around it, who have now fled and are living in the jungle, away from their homes and places of work.
An FBR team went to organize a Good Life Club program in Win Yay Township with over 3,000 newly internally displaced people (IDPs) in the area who have been fleeing Burma Army ground troops, jet airstrikes, and helicopter attacks.
On 27 January 2023 at 12:14 a.m., Burma Army aircraft dropped four bombs, all within 200 meters of each other, at 47PMT 39853 20831, known as “Mine 1.” 200 mine workers, villagers, and their families live here. This is the second time this mine area has been bombed. One building was damaged but thankfully no one was injured.
On 2 February 2023 at 12:00 a.m., there was a report of a Burma Army fighter jet bombing in the Dooplaya District area.
On 3 February 2023 at 5:30 p.m., the Burma Army fired a mortar in Kawtari Township that wounded Aw Mu A Thaw, a 30-year-old school teacher, living in Maung Ma Ywa Thit.
On 8 February 2023 at 12:30 a.m., a Burma Army fighter jet dropped 20 bombs in Kawtari Township, between Kyite Lite and Bod Ter Village, nine of which exploded, resulting in six Karen National Liberation Army and People’s Defense Force soldiers being wounded.
On 23 February 2023 at 12:01 a.m., a Burma Army fighter jet attempted to bomb a district office, missing the target and bombing in-between and damaging two buildings. At the same time, the Burma Army dropped two 500 pound bombs. Thankfully no one was injured.
March – April
On 5 March 2023 at 2:20 p.m., the Burma Army Artillery Unit 317, based in Maw Ka Nin Ywa Thi and directly controlled by Southeast Command, launched a mortar into Aung Tha Ya Village. The mortar hit a 74-year-old woman, Naw Toh Moo, in the waist and stomach. She died after arriving to the hospital in Mawlamyine.
On 29 April 2023 a Burma Army Russian YAK fighter jet dropped two bombs between 3:43 p.m. and 3:50 p.m. at the Ta Wel Ma mining area in eastern Taw Naw area, Kawtari Township. The same day, on 29 April 2023, the Burma Army took a position around the Lay Kay Kaw and Lat Ka Taung areas and fired 40 mortars into Mae Ka Neh Village. The Burma Army Unit IB 207 and 102 and Border Guard Force battalion 1022 (commanded by Mote Thon) and battalion 1019 (commanded by Di Di) under control of Division 44 (commander Win Naung Soe) were responsible for the attack on Mae Ka Neh Village.
In the attack, the Burma Army burned down twelve civilians’ houses. The Burma Army also hit three schools, including a nursery school, two clinics, a church and church buildings, and monastery with mortars and airstrikes. 70 livestock animals were killed also.
The local FBR team stayed with the IDPs who fled and helped them as they could.
Between 3-5 May 2023, a local FBR team went to help villagers in Noh Poe Htee Moo Hta area and IDPs who fled from Mae Ka Neh Village, with a medical clinic and encouraged them through a GLC program.
On 5 May 2023, the Burma Army Hlaing Wa Camp (located next to Kawkareik Town) fired 175 mm mortars, hitting and damaging about 40 rubber trees in a rubber tree field next to San Plar Village in Kawtari Township. The owner is U Aung Htway Ye from Nan Shwe Mon Village in Kawtari Township.
Between 5 and 7 May 2023, the Burma Army Hlaing Wa camp fired mortars hitting and destroying houses and huts in Ta Mine Kone Village and Aw Pa Pa Do (“An Hpa Kyi” in Burmese) Village, Kawtari Township.
On 7 May 2023 a Burma Army fighter jet flew over and dropped three bombs, two of which exploded, in the Wa Pa Thel Village area.
On 8 May 2023 at 11:30 a.m., a Burma Army Russian Mi24 attack helicopter came and shot four heavy weapons and machine guns in Win Yay Township. They hit two houses, burning one down and leaving one damaged. Three villagers were wounded: Saw Kya Thoe, 57 years old, Daw Than She 58 years old, and a 31-year-old woman.
On 23 May 2023, around 11:45 p.m. a Burma Army fighter jet dropped two bombs in Pa Nweh Poe Klo Village, Kawtari Township, Dooplaya District. The airstrikes hit a church, a student building and two houses which were destroyed. Thankfully no villagers were injured because the ran away before the plane came. People from this area fled to hide in the jungle or try and find a way to cross the border.
On 25 May 2023, at 2:30 p.m., the Burma Army fired a mortar into Ta Mine Kone Village in Kawtari Township. Two villagers were wounded as a result: U Aung Thaung, 62 years old, and Kyaw Min Htun, 31 years old.
On 27 May 2023 at 1:45 p.m. the Burma Army fired a mortar into Noh Ta Kaw (“Kya Inn Kone” in Burmese) Village in Kawtari Township. The mortar hit a car and completely destroyed a house, both belonging to Saw Maung Thein. It is reported that the Burma Army fires heavy weapons every day in this area.
Between 24 May and 17 June 2023, the local FBR team went to Mae Ka Neh Village to help the IDPs in that area. After providing food to Mae Ka Neh villagers one day, some township leaders asked if the team could visit another IDP site. On 30 May 2023, the Rangers hiked four hours as there was no other way to get there. The FBR team leader shares, “At that time we did not have anything left. I was thinking how can we help these IDPs. I did not have any idea to help. So then we prayed and discussed. I talked about FBR vision and mission with my team: help, hope and love. For this time we have nothing to give them, we run out of everything. But we thought, we can can still give and show our love, encourage them, and bring hope by giving them our physical strength.” So, the team built the IDPs a clinic, toilets, a house for teachers and children, and repaired the jungle school they had built. The team leader said, “We are happy and love to do for the oppressed.”
June – July
On 7 June 2023, Burma Army Unity 231, under control of MOC 12, fired mortars into Ywa Tan Shae Village in Kawtari Township. Two mortars hit the home of villagers U Htun Kyin and Daw Ta Pi, killing a 12-year-old, Kyaw Than Aung, wounding a 4-year-old, Nan Ye Wa Di, on the lip, and wounding a 43-year-old, Daw Ta Pi, on her left leg and left ear.
On 8 June 2023, Burma Army Unit 317 fired a mortar into Nit Ka Yin Village in Win Yay Township. It hit a villager, Ma Than Aye, 29 years old, who died on the way to hospital.
On 30 June 2023, Burma Army LIB 275 fired four mortars into Mae Ka Neh Village in Kawtari Township. It hit and injured two villagers, Daw Ma Ngo, 76 years old, and Eh Paw Kli, 10 years old.
On 11 July 2023, a Burma Army fighter jet came and shot twice near Ya Hta Village, on the road between Kyainn Seikyi and Kyite Don, in Noh Ta Kaw Township. A Burma Army Russian Mi35 fighter jet also came and shot near Pu Lane Village School. Their houses and other buildings were hit in Win Yay township.
Please pray that the Burma Army would stop attacking their own people here in Karen State and across the country of Burma. Please pray also that the people of Burma would have hope for their futures despite the evil being done to them.
Thank you and God bless you,
Free Burma Rangers