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KHRG Report: Current Situation in M

Subject: KHRG Report: Current Situation in Mudraw (Papun) District

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                  Manerplaw, November 13, 1992

Filename: nov13_92.2



The SLORC offensive against the KNLA and civilians in the Tee Moo
Khee area has been going on since July, and still continues.  The
SLORC has used 13 Battalions, totalling approximately 6,500
infantry and artillery troops, in this attack on several remote
civilian villages and a small force of Karen troops.  They are
using their heaviest weaponry, including 120 mm. mortars, and are
fully supported by air power.  The Burmese Air Force has used its
Swiss Pilatus PC6 and PC7 turbopropeller bombers to conduct
repeated raids in the area.  Many of the raids have attacked
civilian villages where Karen troops are not positioned, including
Saw Mu Plaw, Ler Mu Plaw, and Kya Deh villages.  The planes bomb,
strafe, and fire 2.75-inch rockets into the villages.  Casualty
figures are not yet confirmed, but up to 20 or more villagers,
including men, women, and children, have been killed in the raids,
and many more wounded.

Most of the villagers had already been living in small clusters of
houses in the forest rather than in centralised villages for up to
15 years, as centralised villages make easy targets for the Burma
Army's notorious Four Cuts program (the program involves attacking
ethnic armies indirectly by systematically pillaging ethnic
villages and murdering or enslaving the villagers, and has been in
effect in this area continuously since the 1970's).  The villagers
are desperate not to be forced out of their home areas, especially
now that their rice crop is just becoming ready for harvest, but as
the Karen troops recently had to pull back a short distance they
had no choice but to go with them.  Villagers who attempted to
return to harvest rice from their own fields often found SLORC
troops lying in wait to gun them down.  Now many of them stay with
the Karen troops around Bpa Nay Bpa Ko for security, while others
are scattered in the forests of the area.  Some still try to make
excursions to gather some of their rice, but only by night and with
Karen troops for protection.

Over 4,000 of these villagers face imminent starvation if food is
not sent to them very soon.  Although they are two days' walk from
the Thai border, supplies can reach them by elephant.  The KNU is
now trying to help them as much as possible, but its resources are
desperately needed elsewhere as the SLORC reopens its attacks on
all fronts.

Together with the displaced villagers are 50 to 60 munitions
porters, men aged 17 to 50 and above, who have escaped the SLORC
Army.  Some are convicts who have been dragged from the prisons,
but most are villagers who were rounded up by SLORC troops at
Taungoo and Nyaunglebin railway stations.  The SLORC is currently
using captured women to porter munitions from Ler Do Town to Mu
Seh, and then the men must carry the loads from Mu Seh to the front
lines in the Tee Moo Khee area.

Should the Karen troops have to withdraw any further, the situation
for all of these people will become even more desperate.


The Kaw Lu Der villages lie not so far to the west of Saw Hta (Saw
Hta is a northern Karen village and trading gateway on the Salween
River at the Thai border, just south of the Karenni border). 
However, over 1,600 villagers in this area have been cut off on 3
sides by Burmese troops, and their only route to the Thai border is
now a long and arduous trek through the mountains which some may
not survive.  They have also been driven from the area of their
home villages by the SLORC's current wave of attacks, and already
face starvation.  The supply line to these people still remains
precariously open, and food supplies are needed immediately.


On October 5, while 13 SLORC Battalions and the Air Force continued
to attack Tee Moo Khee, SLORC Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw told the
United Nations General Assembly of the Army's "suspension of all
offensive operations in Kayin [Karen] State and other parts of the
country".  As the next day dawned on October 6, about 2,000 SLORC
troops in 4 Battalions swooped down from southern Karenni State and
launched an all-out attack on the northern Karen village and
trading post of Saw Hta, overrunning the village and driving an
estimated 1,000 villagers southward back into the protection of the
Karen Army or across the Thai border to become refugees.  SLORC
Battalions #114, 115, 117, and 102 of 55 Division mounted the
attack.  After 7 hours of heavy fighting, the KNLA had to withdraw
because they were short of ammunition.  18 SLORC troops were
already dead, including 2 officers, and 43 were wounded, 20 of them

The Karen lines now hold firm just south of Saw Hta at Ra Hta,
while the refugees have scattered themselves along many kilometres
of remote Salween riverbank, where they are living in temporary
bamboo shelters roofed with plastic sheets they've brought with
them.  They are currently surviving on whatever food they brought
along.  Some others have gone to stay with relatives in existing
villages or refugee camps in the area.  As with the people
displaced in the Tee Moo Khee area, their annual rice crop, just
becoming ready for harvest, has been lost.  It is likely that soon
all of the Saw Hta refugees will gather in one or two camps,
allowing the standard food supply for Karen refugees in Thailand to
be established.  However, none of the new or old refugee camps
along this part of the border receive any medical aid at all, a
situation that desperately needs to be rectified.  Though some of
the refugees in these camps are trained medics, children regularly
die of treatable diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, and
malaria, simply for want of basic medicines.  And with SLORC troops
now occupying Mudraw District High School in Saw Hta, over 300 more
Karen children have now lost their education to an uncertain

The fate of about 100 villagers from Pa Leh village, who were
already living on the Thai side of the river just north of Saw Hta,
remains unknown.  There are reports that they want to flee
southward but cannot get past the SLORC positions along the river. 
The only other route takes several days over mountains in Thailand,
and they fear that some of the elderly and newborns with them would
not survive the trip.  So for now, they remain hidden near their
homes, trapped by the SLORC.
                (Not including Saw Hta refugees)

   Village_Tract         Village                #_of_people


   Plah Ko               Kya Deh                     400
                         Plah Ko Po                  300
                         Plah Ko Doh                 140
                         Thay Baw                    550
                         Da Kaw Mi Lah               250

   Saw Mu Plaw           Shwe Mu Der                 170
                         Wah Ko Hta                  450
                         Saw Mu Plaw                 700

   Tee Mu Baw Kee        Teh Bo Hta                  700
                         Kyaw Mu Lay Der             200
                         Paw Mu Der                  250
                         Ler Mu Plaw                 250
                               TEE MOO KHEE TOTAL   4360


   Kaw Lu Der            Du Ta Ghay                  250
                         Saw Ta (Note: not Saw Hta)  350
                         Mey Per Hta                 250
                         Ta Bo Hta                    90
                         Dreh Po Hta                  50
                         Thway Der                   170
                         Baw Peh                     270
                         Saw Klu Hta                 150
                         Po Kyaw Der                  70
                                 KAW LU DER TOTAL   1650


                         Pa Leh                      100

                                    OVERALL TOTAL   6110

FOOD NEEDED:  6110 people @ 3 milk tins of uncooked rice / day
              = 18,330 milk tins of rice per day
              = 50 100-kg. sacks of rice per day
              = 1500_100-kg._sacks_of_rice_per_month
(based on 1 biscuit tin = 64 milk tins, 1 sack = 6 biscuit tins)

These food supplies are desperately needed now if these civilians
are to survive the coming season and the uncertainty of the current
and upcoming SLORC offensives.  These villagers join the tens of
thousands of other Karen villagers already displaced by SLORC
troops and currently living in the forests of the Revolutionary
Area facing severe deprivation.  The Tee Moo Khee region in
particular faces nightly temperatures down to the freezing point in
the coming months.  Other than the limited supplies the KNU can
provide, none of these people have yet received any more than token
outside help.  If a large death toll and a flood of new refugees
into Thailand are to be avoided, immediate international assistance
is needed.


Karen Human Rights Group
Box 22
Mae Sot, Tak 63110
(Email for the KHRG sent to strider@xxxxxxxxxxx will be forwarded
to them)