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BurmaNet: May 28, 1995, #180

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"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: May 28, 1995
Issue #180


          When the Yellow Headbands [DKBA soldiers] arrived at the
          camp they asked, "Are there any foreigners here?"  I said,
          "There are", and they said "We're going to arrest the
          foreigners." I said, "Don't do that.  Have pity on the
          foreigners.  It will be very hard for them."  They said
          they would take the foreigners down to Khaw Taw.  What
          they will do with them there, I don't know!

                  Saw Lah Mu, a Karen refugee captured by DKBA
                    troops. See <KHRG: NEW ATTACKS ON KAREN REFUGEE


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embargoed until May 27

                      Speech on the occasion of the award of an            =
   honorary doctorate in absentia to Aung San Suu Kyi                      =
by Queen's University, Canada,
               delivered by her busband Dr. Micahel Aris on 27 May 1995
Madam Chancellor, ladies and gentlemen

In accepting on behalf of my wife Aung San Suu Kyi this honour from a  grea=
Canadian university I can only say how sorry I am that she is not  here in
person to receive it.  I had hoped that I would at least be able  to read t=
you Suu's own words of gratitude.  Last winter when I was  with her she tol=
me she would prepare a text for today's ceremony and  give it to me on my
next visit.  But the military authorities who have  held her prisoner these
six long years chose to refuse me access this  spring and we have no other
means of communication.

However, as the one who knows and loves your honorand best in this world  I
have no doubt she would say, first of all, that she accepts this  honour no=
for herself alone but in the name of all those in Burma who  are dedicated
to the struggle for peace and justice.  In this common  endeavour her own
efforts have come, by a strange twist of destiny, to  symbolize the
sacrifice of so many others.  I know it is for them that  she now receives,
with deep gratitude, this recognition of the courage  of her people.

Exactly five years ago to this very day the political party established  by
my wife won an extraordinary landslide victory in Burma's general  election=
which took place as the result of a nationwide call for a  return to
democracy.  How vividly I recall everyone's firm expectation  that she woul=
very soon be released from arbitrary detention and her  party would in due
course form the first democratic government in Burma  in twenty-three years=
It was not to be.  She is still a prisoner.   There is not even the distant
rumour of a civilian government being  formed. Peace has yet to come to her
troubled land.

Yet the means to achieving the prize of peace in Burma lies so close to=20
hand in the teachings of the Lord Buddha.  For it was he who taught the=20
Middle Path between the two extremes of self-gratification and pointless=20
austerity.  I believe Suu would say that it is neither in the unbridled=20
gratification of the rights and freedoms of the individual nor by the=20
coercive power of the state that true peace can be won.  Rather it is by=20
searching for the essential balance between these two poles that Burma,  an=
other countries too, will find the central route to their  enlightenment.

Having struggled on false paths for so long we are told that the Lord=20
Buddha came suddenly to realise his error and found the light.  Is it  too
much to hope that Burma now at last finds the way forward on a  Middle Path
of its own making?  The happiness of many familieis besides  our own depend=
on this.  The wounds of the past must be allowed to heal  on a path of true
reconciliation.  All sides will will achieve victory  on a path of peace.=
There will be no losers.

I feel sure that all those assembled here in this celebration of hope  will
share this aspiration with me.

I thank you.


May 28, 1995

Thai/Burma border

According to senior sources in the Karen National Union, any large
scale attempt to forcibly repatriate the 80,000 Karen refugees in
Thailand will be resisted.  Initial resistance to the repatriation
is likely to take the form of demonstrations in the refugee camps,
in border towns like Mae Sot, and in Bangkok.

Thai National Security Council Chief Gen. Charan Kullawanijaya has
stated that he wants to see the refugees repatriated to a site
across the border at Myawaddy, opposite Mae Sot.  At present, plans
call for a concentration of refugees into a small number of large
camps, rather than the dozens of camps strung out along the border.=20
What Karen leaders fear is that the collection of refugees in a
small number of sites is prepatory to a large scale repatriation.=20
Karen leaders BurmaNet has contacted view an attempt to depopulate
the camps as an effort by Thailand to destroy the KNU.  Many of the
refugees in the camps are families of KNU soldiers in Burma.

Although initial resistance is likely to take the form of protests,
stronger measures are also being considered.  One well placed Karen
source said "look at the chaos only 300 DKBA soldiers caused [in
Thailand] and think what the whole KNU could do.  If they try to
destroy us, we have no reason not to fight."

At present, the Karen National Union is in disarray, but a congress
scheduled for the end of June/beginning of July is expected to
replace several of the "five old ones" who now run the KNU,
including Gen. Bo Mya.

Senior Karen sources also report that the consortium building the
Tavoy natural gas pipeline has contacted elements of the KNU with a
proposal that would secure the pipeline in exchange for some
benefits to the Karens.  Pipeline workers and the Thai-Myanmar
Friendship Bridge at Mae Sot are both likely targets of any actions
by the KNU should the repatriation of refugees lead to open conflict
with Thailand.

The pipeline overture was made to KNU 4th Brigade officials and came
earier this month via personnel from the Petroleum Authority of
Thailand Exploration and Production (PTTEP).  PTTEP is to build the
Thai section of the pipeline.  A Thai air force officer is also
reported to have contacted 4th Brigade leaders on the same subject.=20
The offers were rejected by 4th Brigade leaders because they were
not made to KNU headquarters.  In attempting to deal with the 4th
Brigade separately from the KNU, PTTEP is employing the same
strategy SLORC is using in their effort to split the stronger
southern brigades (4 and 6) from the weakened main body of the KNU.

KNU leaders have made a peace offer to the SLORC but as it includes
calls for a political settlement, it is likely to be rejected.  In
the meantime however, KNU leaders say that no new attacks on the
pipeline are planned, at least until the SLORC replies to the offer.=20
It is in any event, questionable whether the KNU is in any position
to mount another attack until its leadership is consolidated in the
coming congress.

May 28, 1995

Xuwicha Hiranyaprueck, a Thai businessman who is Thai NSC Chief
Charan Kullawanijaya's point man on Burma made an appearance at a
recent academic meeting hosted by "Forum Asia" at Bangkok's
Chulanlongkorn University.  Xuwicha introduced himself as an "NGO
worker" for his Thai Highlanders Foundation, based in Chiang Mai.

Xuwicha's views seem to represent those of Gen. Charan and also
differ little from SLORC.  While they are largely divorced from
reality, they are worth taking note of if for no other reason than
Charan and the SLORC control most of the troops along that border.

A summary of Xuwicha's  remarks is reproduced here.  These are not
direct quotations.

 1. Bo Mya's KNU had persecuted Buddhists and was hated for that.=20
This is why Manerplaw could not be defended, because even the
garrison there was not prepared to fight.

2. The Democratic Karen Buddhist Organization [DKBO} was a result of
that.  They armed themselves with KNU weapons.  When the DKBO was
set up, Bo Mya ordered its destruction using military means.

3. The KNU had been sustained by western non-governmental
organizations (NGOs).  30 per cent of rice from the Burmese Border
Consortium (BBC) had gone across the border to sustain the KNU.  But
now the BBC has prevented rice from going across the border, so
DKBO/Buddhist Karens had made attacks in order to capture rice

4. The Karen Refugee Committee (KRC) was a ruthless and powerful
front for the KNU which had terrorised the refugees, kept them
tightly controlled in the camps and had prevented people at gun-
point from returning to Burma.  Even so, some 6,000 refugees had
returned to Burma following the DKBO split and the fall of

5. The DKBO attacks also represented the deep and hate-filled
antogonism between the KNU/Christian Karen, and the determination of
the DKBO to seize KNU weapons, overome the KNU/KRC campaing to hold
the refugees in the camps.

6. Thai sweeps of the camps to capture KNU arms have been successful
so that in the past few days, 7,000 refugees have returned to Burma.


An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group
May 5, 1995 / KHRG #95-16

Since its inception in December 1994, the 'Democratic Kayin Buddhist
Army' (DKBA) has tried to get all Karen refugees in Thailand to
return to Burma, almost certainly at the prompting of SLORC.  If the
refugees return, SLORC stands to gain alot of international
legitimacy while simultaneously obtaining alot of free labourers for
its military 'development' projects.  Initially the DKBA tried to
use agressive persuasion and threats.  Then when that didn't work
quickly enough, DKBA and SLORC began attacking the refugee camps,
kidnapping or killing camp leaders and religious leaders, shooting
refugees and threatening everyone with further attacks.  (For
background on the DKBA and these attacks, see "SLORC's Northern
Karen Offensive",  KHRG #95-10, 29/3/95.) =20

Since February, these attacks have been happening
several times a week and at almost every camp.  By April, camp
security forces had formed and were beginning to thwart many of the
attacks.  Some refugees were returning to Burma, but only a small
minority.  Then on April 19, SLORC and the DKBA launched the apparent
'Third Phase' of the strategy.  First about 20 troops from the Meh
Tha Waw garrison crossed into the village of Meh Wah Kwee in
Thailand, burned down 30 houses where Karen refugees were staying and
took about 10 families back to Burma at gunpoint.  Then on April 23,
about 300 SLORC and DKBA troops, largely SLORC, crossed the Moei
River at Kler Thay Lu (20 km. south of Manerplaw), attacked Mae Law
village and burned down refugee homes there.  The same day another
large SLORC/DKBA force crossed the Moei River and attacked Karen
refugees in Mae Wih Kee, 10 km. south of Manerplaw, set up roadblocks
along a dirt road and threatened Thai security forces in the area.=20
On April 24, the force again attacked Mae Wih Kee, and this time they
took a large number of refugees back across the border at gunpoint.=20
On April 25 another force hit Mae Ra Ma Luang (which hadn't been
attacked before) and Kamaw Lay Ko camps on the same day, then Baw Noh
camp was hit and burned on April 28.  These attacks were completely
different from those preceding them: they attacked brazenly with 50
to 300 heavily armed troops, in broad daylight in all but one case
(Kamaw Lay Ko), and they showed no hesitation to attack Thai forces
even without being provoked.  At Baw Noh, they even had Burmese 81
mm. mortar support fired from the Burma side of the border. =20

Furthermore, the attacks were no longer targetted at specific camp
leaders or just a few houses, but aimed to destroy the camps
wholesale by burning them down.=20

170 houses were burned in Mae Ra Ma Luang, 300 in Kamaw Lay Ko and
over 700 in Baw Noh.  Over 6,000 refugees have been left homeless and
destitute just as the monsoon season is about to begin.=20
Witnesses indicate that most of the attackers were Karen in most
cases, but that there were Burmese troops along with them trying to
keep a low profile (though large numbers of Burmese troops were
openly involved in the April 19-24 attacks near Manerplaw, because
this is a more remote area with few Thais present).  In each case,
refugees claim that there was a large SLORC supporting force kept
just across the river in case of need.  The coordination of these
separate attacks over a wide area from several different places
within Burma and the use of mortar support and large numbers of
troops make it clear that SLORC was involved in preparing these
operations.  The majority of the DKBA troops being used in the
operations are not former KNLA soldiers, but appear to be villagers
who have been conscripted into the DKBA.=20

Some of the attacking groups consist of Karen with a wide variety of
accents, including Western Pwo Karen and Irrawaddy Delta Karen, which
raises the question whether the SLORC is bringing Burma Army soldiers

are Karen into the area to act as DKBA while still directly under
SLORC orders.

The refugees whose homes have been destroyed have scattered into the
hills surrounding their camps, where they now face the beginning
monsoon with no roof and no food, or to other camps.  Meanwhile,
people in other camps - such as Kler Ko and Gray Hta - have also
scattered because they believe they will be next and they have no
faith in the nonexistent Thai security.  Many camps are now like
ghost towns.  The Thai Army has deployed alot of troops - but to Thai
towns along the border, not to refugee camps.  Most camps still have
less than 10 Thai soldiers for security, and even these are under
orders to evacuate if the camp is attacked.  In both Baw Noh and
Kamaw Lay Ko, Thai forces on site had warning of the attacks and sent
requests for reinforcements hours in advance, but no answer and no
reinforcements came.  After the attacks, several Thai soldiers and
officers on site openly expressed anger and disgust with their
superiors.  If anything, it appears that the Thai Army high command
wanted the camps to burn.  Army Commander in Chief Wimol Wongwanich
has often made it clear that he thinks all Karen refugees should be
forcibly repatriated as soon as
possible, and the burning of the camps appears to be bringing that
day closer.  There is now broad support in Thai official circles for
a plan to move all Karen refugees into a few large, completely closed
camps which would be an easy stepping stone to mass forced
repatriation after the coming rainy season, when the Thai government
will probably claim "all is now peaceful in Burma".  The Thai Army
and government are making it clear that the UNHCR and other foreign
agencies would be kept out of these camps, which would be controlled
by the Army.  They argue that the Thai government can "save money" by
having large camps and continue to care for the refugees as it always
has.  Of course, the Thai authorities have never spent a penny on the
camps or the refugees, who receive all their aid from foreign
agencies which in turn must buy millions of dollars' worth of goods
from Thai businesses.  However, the Thai public is being duped into
believing that their government has always cared for the refugees,
and can continue to do so.  The refugees do not want to go into such
camps, and are very afraid of what such camps imply for the future.=20
They don't know what to think of their 'Karen brothers' in the DKBA.=20
They are feeling lost and confused, they have no homes, and the rainy
season is just about to begin.

At the time of printing, there have been no major attacks on the
camps since April 28.  Instead, a 'Fourth Phase' appears to have
begun - the attacks are now aiming at Thai targets.  On May 3 at 1
a.m., as many as 50 attackers stormed a main Thai police checkpoint
at Mae Ngao, on the main highway 35 km. south of Mae Sariang.  They
riddled it with bullets and killed three of the Thai policemen
inside.  This site is at least 15 km. from the nearest refugee camp.=20
The reason for the checkpoint attack is unclear, although this
checkpoint was notorious for arresting Karens and extorting money
from them and one of the policemen killed was the worst of the lot. =20

Then later the same day about 100 houses were reportedly burned in
the Thai border trading village of Mae Sam Lap on the Salween River.=20
Most of the residents of Mae Sam Lap have now fled.  The Thai Army
claims to have retaliated by attacking a DKBA camp on the Burma side
of the border with helicopter gunships, but the Thai Army often fakes
such attacks just to alleviate public pressure.  Thai Prime Minister
Chuan Leekpai is playing down the attacks, calling them a "trivial
issue" which will not affect bilateral relations or the 'constructive
engagement' policy.

This report provides details of the attacks on Mae Ra Ma Luang, Baw
Noh and Kamaw Lay Ko refugee camps.  It has 2 parts:  Summary=20

of Attacks, which describes the events, and Interviews with some of
the refugees who were there.  Names which have been changed to
protect people are denoted by enclosing them in quotation marks.=20
Some camps go by several names: Mae Ra Ma Luang is the official Thai
name of the camp Karens call Mae Ra Mu Klo (this camp was called Mae
Ma La Luang in the KHRG report "SLORC's Northern Karen Offensive").=20
Baw Noh is the common name for the camp officially known as Meh Tha
Waw.  In the interviews, many people refer to the DKBA soldiers as
"Yellow Headbands" ("ko per baw" in Karen) because of the yellow
headbands they wear - this name has become common usage among Karens.

Please feel free to use this report in any way which may help stop
the suffering of the people of Burma.


Mae Ra Mu Klo (Mae Ra Ma Luang) camp

Mae Ra Mu Klo camp was newly formed in 1995 to house refugees from
Manerplaw area and the lower Salween who had fled SLORC's Manerplaw
offensive.  It is home to about 5,000 refugees and is about 10 km.
inside Thailand, with hills and Thai forces between it and the Moei
River borderline.  It was not attacked until April 25, when 40-60
soldiers entered it from the north along the main stream which passes
through the camp.  They had crossed the Moei River just upstream from
its mouth at the Salween River and followed a main path for 2-3 hours
to the camp, taking a few villagers prisoner along the way.  Some
refugees claim to have seen evidence of a large SLORC supporting
force positioned in readiness where the attacking force crossed the
border, but we have been unable to confirm this.  Despite the fact
that there are heavily armed Thai and Karen security deployed to
protect the camp, the force was not attacked and the refugees had no
warning of their approach.  Some people ina village a short distance
from the camp claim that the attackers took some 'tablets' as they
passed through the village (the DKBA is often accused of drugging its
soldiers).  They arrived at noon or 12:30, probably having planned to
arrive in the heat of the day when houses burn most easily.  Most of
the attackers were Karen and spoke to their prisoners in Karen, but
there were a few who looked Burmese and never said a word, only
pointing and signalling.  They entered the Section 1 end of the camp
and immediately began looting, taking prisoners and shooting.  They
quickly opened fire on the Thai army station at the other end of
Section 1.  The Thai forces fled, and later the attackers stole their
radio set and took it with them.  While refugees fled into the
surrounding forested hills or were taken prisoner, the attackers
advanced slowly through Section 1 and into Section 2, telling
they were going to burn the camp shortly.  After looting half of
Section 2 they began an orderly retreat back to Section 1, one group
setting houses afire while another group covered them, shooting all
the time and taking prisoners as they went.  Houses were set afire by
cigarette lighters on the roofing leaves or burning tracer rounds
fired from assault rifles.

By the time they got back to the place where they had entered the
camp, they had at least 100 prisoners, young, old, women and men.=20
They told these people they were taking them to DKBA headquarters at
Khaw Taw (Myaing Gyi Ngu) and set out back along the path with
villagers interspersed with soldiers to act as a human shield.  Along
the way a few people were released and a few escaped, then when they
reached Tee Ler Baw there was a brief burst of fire from camp
forces in the surrounding hills.  In the confusion, many villagers
escaped.  By the time they reached the Moei River and crossed back
into Burma, the attackers reportedly had only 2 prisoners left: Deh
Mu, a Christian aged about 60 who used to be a KNU official in Papun
District, and Johnny (personal details not available).  These men
tightly tied with rope, and the DKBA specifically wanted to take them
back.  They had also planned to take back Hla Tin, a former Karen
training officer (now retired), but he managed to escape.

Ten people were wounded during the attack, 8 by gunfire and shrapnel
and 2 by burning:

1)   Aye Day, M, age 42, hit in the right upper back and the bullet
lodged inside.  Referred to Mae Sariang hospital.
2)   Sa Mya, M, age 32-33, deep flesh wound across the back muscle.=20
Referred to Mae Sariang hospital.
3)   Ma Aye, F, 21, shot in the back of her left shoulder while

to run away with her 3=AB-month old infant.  The bullet went through
shoulder and exited out the front, leaving a hole the diameter of a
finger.  Being treated in the camp.
4)   Kyaw Myint, M, 32, hit in the thigh with M79 grenade shrapnel
which became lodged inside.  He is having great difficulty walking
is being treated in the camp.
5)   Hla Aye (Kyaw Myint's wife), F, 30, small wound in her left heel
from M79 shrapnel, being treated in the camp.
6)   Name not available, M, age about 22, hit by an exploding M79
while running away, many wounds on his right upper body and head.=20
Referred to Mae Sariang hospital.
7)   Hsa Po Htoo, M, age 24, hit by the same shell as #6 and suffered
one broken bone in his right forearm.  Referred to Mae Sariang
8)   Name not available, M, age about 15, grazed on one toe, being
treated in the camp.
9)   Mya Maung, M, age 84, badly burned across his forehead, elbow,
buttocks and heel.  Mya Maung is deaf, cannot see well and cannot
on his own.  He didn't know what was happening and was caught in his
house when they set it on fire.  Being treated in the camp. 10)  Pu
Pu, M, age 82, badly burned on his face, back, arms and all over his
body.  Pu Pu is blind.  He was under his house when they set it on
fire.  He reportedly died of his wounds on April 27.

In the attack 170 houses were completely destroyed - all of Section 1
and half of Section 2 (the camp has 7 sections).  The Section 1
storehouse was burned, completely destroying 905 sacks (90,500 kg.)
rice, 1,500 kg. of salt, 2,640 blankets, 1,760 mosquito nets,
fishpaste and miscellaneous other items.  The food supply had just
been stockpiled for rainy season (until November), because the
rains are about to wash out the road to the camp and it will be
inaccessible.  It is unsure how this rice can be replaced.  Most of
the people who lost their homes are now living with friends in other
sections of the camp.  Since the attack Thai security forces have
slightly increased to a total of 10 or 20 in the camp, but there is
evidence that any further security measures are being taken.  The
could easily be attacked again.=20
Baw Noh (Meh Tha Waw) camp

Baw Noh is a well-established camp on the east side of the main
highway about 130 km. north of Mae Sot.  It has been one of the
favourite targets for attack since February, and due to the
combination of people from Burma and other camps fleeing to Baw Noh,
those fleeing from Baw Noh because of the attacks, and some Baw Noh
residents returning to Burma, its population has fluctuated between
6,000 and 9,000 this year.  On April 28 at about 7:30 a.m. it was
attacked by a force of about 100 men, most of them DKBA but
with a few SLORC soldiers among them.  They attacked in 2 groups, one
coming from the south and across the highway, the other coming down
the highway from the north and brazenly marching right across a large
highway bridge just in front of the camp.  Without provocation, they
then opened fire on a Thai police post along the highway in front of
the camp.  The post was manned by its usual contingent of 5 police,
plus an additional 7 military Border Patrol Policemen.  They
fire with the attackers for 5 minutes, wounding 2 DKBA, but then had
to flee because they were outnumbered.  Two policemen ended up having
to hide under the highway bridge while one Border Patrol Policeman,
Sergeant Thawatchai Wanond, was captured, tied up and taken to Burma
as a prisoner when the attackers withdrew.  He was released unharmed
the next day.  The attackers later burned the police post, destroying
an estimated 200,000 Baht (US$8,000) worth of equipment and personal

They then advanced into the front part of the camp, while troops
(probably SLORC) on the Burma side of the Moei River (1 km. to the
west) began shelling the back half of the camp with 81 mm. mortar
fire, probably to stop the refugees escaping into the ricefields
behind the camp and to deter any attempt at defence by the camp
security force.  Over 10 mortar rounds hit the back half of the camp,
wounding 2 people.  As the attackers entered the camp, they fired
(Rocket-Propelled Grenades) and small arms.  They began looting and
then burning houses.  They arrested 3 refugees but released them
before leaving.  They reportedly looked for the camp leader but he
up the road in Meh Tha Waw village, and they looked for Saw Abraham
(also known as Ah Kya), the Seventh-Day Adventist pastor.  He and his
family had to hide in two covered holes under their house, and
couldn't come out for fear of being shot.  Their house was then set
fire.  As the house began to collapse, the pastor, his wife and their
youngest son managed to escape with bad burns, but their 18-year-old
daughter Naw Geh Moo Paw, a 10th standard high school student, was
alone in a separate hole.  The house collapsed on her and she burned
to death.  Her screams were heard by people throughout the camp.=20
refugees claim that DKBA troops told the family they'd be shot if
came out, then set the house on fire, while others believe the family
was afraid to come out because they knew the DKBA was looking for
them.  We were not able to check this with the family themselves, as
they had been sent to hospital.

The attackers stayed in the camp for about 1 hour.  They set half the
camp on fire and then the fire spread to the whole camp.  An
700 houses were burned, including the school and the camp hospital.=20
Only the monastery and a few houses were left standing at the front
the camp and on the low hills surrounding.  They threatened refugees
that they would come back again in a few days, and next time they
would kill everyone who remained.  As they withdrew from the camp a
Thai L19 ground attack plane arrived and circled 3 or 4 times.  It
reportedly fired 2 rockets, one at the retreating attackers and the
other at the mortar position on the Burma side of the river.  The
attackers opened fire on the plane, though it is unclear whether they
or the plane fired first.  The plane then left, and the attackers
returned to the Burma side of the river.

Five refugees were wounded and one (Naw Geh Moo Paw) was killed.=20
Pastor Abraham, age 47, his wife, age 39-40, and their youngest son,
age 12, suffered from burns and were evacuated to hospital.   Two
others were wounded by shrapnel from 81 mm. mortar shells - one was
hit by fragments in both shoulders and the nose, and the other by 2
3 fragments in the lower leg.  They were also sent out to hospital

At 8 p.m. the night before the attack, Karen camp security already
notification that DKBA troops were in the monastery directly across
the Moei River and were preparing to attack the camp, and they
immediately notified the Thai police post.  Thai police from the
police box say they had notified their superiors repeatedly and in
detail that the camp was about to be attacked, but their superiors
never responded or sent reinforcements.  Instead, the policemen were
notified to disarm the camp Karen security force.  The evening before
the attack, they told the camp security leader that a senior Thai
officer was coming and that on April 28 all houses would be searched
for weapons, so camp security must either hand over or bury their
weapons (Thai Army Commander-in-Chief Wimol Wongwanich did in fact
visit the camp 2 days later, though it is unclear whether this was
planned before the camp was burned).  At 5 a.m. on April 28 the Thai
officer in charge again notified camp officials to get rid of any
weapons.  As soon as the camp security had finished disarming
themselves, the attack began.=20

Kamaw Lay Ko camp

Kamaw Lay Ko camp is a long-established camp on the west side of the
main north-south highway 76 km. north of Mae Sot.  As of February
its official population was a relatively stable 3,961.

At 5 p.m. on April 25, the 4 Thai Border Patrol policemen assigned to
guard the camp received information from a KNLA officer operating on
the Burma side of the border that the DKBA would attack the camp at
p.m. that night.  They immediately reported this to the Thai Army
near Mae Dan, only 10 minutes away by car.  There was no response and
no reinforcements were sent.  At 11 p.m. about 100 soldiers attacked
the camp from at least 2 directions: the southwest end, entering near
the school, and the northeast end, entering from the highway past the
Thai post.  Refugees claim up to half of them were uniformed SLORC
soldiers.  All the soldiers, SLORC and DKBA, were wearing SLORC Army
hats, boots, and SLORC-cut uniforms.  The 4 Thai guards, grossly
outnumbered, hid inside their post.  The group from the northeast
into a shop beside the Thai post owned by a Thai Karen and looted it.=20
Among other things, they stole some beer and paused to drink it while
they argued over whether or not to burn the camp.  According to the
shop owner, Karens with local accents argued against burning it while
some with Irrawaddy Delta accents wanted to burn it.  They then went
into the camp, and later came back to burn the Thai Karen's house and
shop.  Meanwhile, the other group stopped by the school (which is on
a hillside) and began firing small arms, RPG-2, RPG-7, M79 grenades
and 60 mm. mortars down upon the camp.  They then went into the camp
and began setting houses ablaze with tracer bullets and lighters to
the roofing leaves.  The fire spread between houses.  One refugee
reported that the DKBA soldiers let people try to stop their houses
burning, but the SLORC soldiers wouldn't let them.  Only one man, Eh
Pree Pa, age about 32, was slightly wounded in the leg by RPG
shrapnel.  All other refugees managed to escape to the surrounding
hills, while some took refuge in the camp monastery.  About 300
were completely destroyed.=20
The soldiers arrested 3 teenage boys, took them to the camp cemetery
and then released them after giving them the message that all the
refugees must return to Burma within 3 days or they would come back
and kill all those remaining.  They then left at about 12:30 a.m.
no prisoners, carrying the items they'd looted by themselves.=20
Refugees whose houses are still standing have now returned to the
camp, but most of them are still staying in the surrounding hills and


Mae Ra Mu Klo (Mae Ra Ma Luang) camp

NAME:     "Saw Kaw Ghay" SEX: M    AGE: 21        Karen Christian
FAMILY:   Single
ADDRESS:  Refugee at Mae Ra Mu Klo      INTERVIEWED:   27/4/95=20
["Saw Kaw Ghay" shared a house in Section 1 with 2 foreign teachers
who were away at the time of the attack.  The house is right at the
end of the camp, the first house the DKBA encountered.]=20
The DKBA came the day before yesterday, on the 25th, at 12 noon.  I
was in the house ready to take a bath.  One of my friends said "ko
baw, ko per baw!", and they were outside the house.  I looked for a
way to escape.  They said "Don't escape.  If you escape, we are going
to kill you."  They didn't trust people in our house, they thought
maybe we were soldiers.  I went and stayed next to the big tree
There were more than 35 of them.  Some were wearing uniforms.  They
had AK47, AR [a smaller version of M16], and some had hand grenades -
I think maybe they were the leaders, controlling the group.  They
almost all looked Karen, but some looked a bit different.  Different
face - maybe Burmese, or maybe just villagers.  Some spoke Karen, but
some never spoke a word.  They only pointed, they didn't say

Two of them pointed guns at me - one very young, and one very old.=20
Most of them were old.  They didn't look much like soldiers, but they
had badges on their arms, and scarves that said 'DKBA'.  Their badges
were yellow and said 'DKBA', and they also had necklaces with a monk
amulet.  They went inside the house, took the suitcase and bags and
everything and carried them outside.  They didn't know how to open
suitcase, so they called me and said "Give us the key to open this."=20
I told them "This box has no key", but then they were going to shoot
it open so I said "No, no, wait a minute" and I got the key.  They
pointed their guns: "Okay, open it."  When it was open, they took my
cassette player, clothes and some things.  It was my suitcase.  Also,
one of the boxes that was J--- and M---'s [the foreign teachers], and
many bags.  They took J--- and M---'s things too.  They said if they
find any foreigners they will take them to Khaw Taw [Myaing Gyi Ngu,
DKBA headquarters].  I don't know why.  Their faces were a bit red.=20
They seemed like people who have drunk alcohol.  They acted a little
bit drunk - very brave, and pushy toward people.  All of them.  I
heard one of the villagers say that before they came down to the camp
they took some tablets, all of them.  The villagers up there saw
in the village upstream from Section 1 - not far.  One of the
villagers said they took it when they arrested him.  Then they came
down to the camp.

Then they left two soldiers to guard me.  They said, "Sit next to the
big tree there."  They said, "Are you a soldier or a student?"  I
"I was a student".  "From where?"  "From Pway Baw Lu."  "Most of the
Pway Baw Lu students are soldiers", he said.  I said, "Aw - no, no."=20
I thought if they know we are soldier-students they would kill me and
some other people [the Pway Baw Lu students and others used to help
supporting roles such as carrying rice, village sentries and
occasional soldiering, during major SLORC offensives in the area].  I
saw the other soldiers going inside people's houses, taking cassette
players and other things they needed.  They told people, "If you need
some important things in your house, take them now because we are
going to burn it."  The people went down out of their houses and ran
up into the hills.  They started to burn the houses when they were
coming back from Section 2.  They shot AK47's.  They fired a kind of
bullet [tracer rounds] that make fire.  When they shoot the gun=20

and it touches something, everything is burned.  The houses were very
close together.  It was easy to burn them.  The camp security
shoot because the DKBA had villagers all around them.  They were
taking people just to cover them, women and children, and some of the
women were pregnant.  Also some of the leaders, like Em Marta [a
senior KNU Health Ministry official and former Foreign Minister].=20
When they started to burn the houses, some of the camp security on
mountain shot their guns into the air, and Em Marta ran into a toilet
and hid and escaped.  Some of the Yellow Headbands were running, some
were shooting at the houses and some were shooting at the people or
the security people.  They came back [to Section 1] step by step.=20
group withdrew while one group covered them, and so on step by step
like that.  When we saw that we knew they'd had training.  And all
time they were shooting the fire-bullets.  One woman with a baby was
wounded by a bullet here, in the shoulder.  I didn't see the other

Then they went to the refugees and said "Now we're going to send you
to Khaw Taw."  They said, "Why do you want to stay here?  It's no
good. In Khaw Taw we have a big place, and rice and fishpaste and oh,
it's full of many things.  And here, nothing!"  Nobody believed them,
but they were afraid so they just said "Yes.  I see.  Mm-hmm."  Like
that.  They took many people, I don't know how many - with all the
children and grandfathers, maybe more than 100.  They tried to tie up
some of the important people.  They wanted to tie us all up, but they
didn't have enough rope.  The villagers had to go with them just for
cover, so that the security soldiers couldn't shoot the DKBA, so they
told the villagers "Go, go, go, go, go!  We're going to take you to
Khaw Taw.  If you go to Khaw Taw you'll have special food.  Here you
don't have anything."  At the time I was a little afraid and couldn't
say anything.  I was very sad to look at the people.  For some people
it was very hard to carry their very heavy things [which they'd saved
from their houses].  I tried to help them carry.  Some people lied
said "I have a stomach ache" or "I have a headache", they gave many
reasons to the DKBA soldiers, and then they went slowly and the DKBA
couldn't wait for them.  They were going back very quickly.  They had
DKBA, then villagers, then DKBA, then villagers, to cover them.  I
went with them not far away, maybe only 10 minutes.  After we passed
the village we crossed the stream and I said "Oh, please give me
permission to go help my father".  He said, "Where is your father?"=20
I pointed to one of the grandfathers there who couldn't walk, and he
said "Okay, okay.  Follow me later."  Then that guy couldn't wait for
me, and I ran down and hid by the stream until they were gone.  All
the people were trying to escape when the DKBA couldn't see.  They
escaped sooner or later.  Many people came back to the camp.  Some
people escaped into the hills and hid in the forest, and maybe
come back in a few days.  The DKBA said "If someone doesn't want to
now, we'll come back and take them in a few days."  Maybe they'll
come.  We don't know.
NAME:     "Saw Lah Mu"        SEX: M    AGE: 36        Karen
FAMILY:   Married with 4 children       INTERVIEWED:   27/4/95
ADDRESS:  Refugee first at Mae Paw Muh Hta, now at Mae Ra Mu Klo=20
The Yellow Headbands came the day before yesterday, on the 25th.=20
arrived about 12:30, at noontime.  I was at a paddy field looking for
some wild vegetables.  They met me in the paddy field and they took
with them.  They were going to tie me and I said "No need to tie me",
but they said "We have to tie you, otherwise you'll run to the camp
and tell the others that we're coming".  I said, "How can I escape
from you?  We're in an open field."  They tied one of my hands and
took me back to the camp.  My fishing basket was full of vegetables
and I left it in a house.  When they caught me I was alone, but
already caught 3 or 4 villagers before me at a place called Tee Ler

They asked me, "Are there any soldiers doing security for the camp?"=20
I answered, "No, there are no sentries."  The Yellow Headbands said
"Answer our questions truthfully.  You must realize that your life is
in our hands."  I said, "Yes, I am speaking the truth.  When I left
the camp there were no soldiers guarding it, but I don't know about
now.  Maybe if they heard you are coming there are soldiers there
now."  Then they took me along to the camp.  Four or five soldiers
were walking ahead of me, then me.  With me, there were another 2
villagers, the sons of Bo Hla Taing.  They were caught when they went
fishing.  There were 30 or 40 Yellow Headbands.  They all looked like
Karens.  I knew most of them.  They used to stay at Thee Tha Hta
sawmill [just across the river from Mae Paw Muh Hta refugee camp].=20
The leader of the group was Maung Shwe Lone.  He used to be a
before, a monastery elder, not a soldier.  There were also 2
with them from Kan Nya Naung and a [Buddhist] hermit.  This hermit
used to stay in a place called Ta Kho Law Kyo, then he married and
joined DKBA.  They were wearing uniforms.  They looked happy.  They
didn't look afraid.

When we arrived at the camp they all went rushing into the camp and
fired their weapons.  They had AK47, M16, also G3 and G4 automatic
rifles and M79 grenade launchers [AK47 and M16 assault rifles and M79
grenade launchers are used by Karen troops, but G3 and G4 are
Burmese Army weapons].  They fired mostly in the air.  The Yellow
Headbands said that when they were coming to the refugee camp they
Thai soldiers who shot at them [this never happened], and that's why
they had to shoot alot.  They said they wouldn't harm or shoot the
villagers.  At the camp, they tied me to a tree and left me there.  I
couldn't move, and I didn't see any Thai soldiers.  Then they started
looting and burning the houses in the camp.  They ran here and there
in the village.  It lasted about 30 minutes, and then they left.=20
took me along with them.  They made me carry 3 or 4 cassette players
[which they'd looted].  They took about 200 people with them, young
and old, as far as Tee Ler Baw.  The women and children were all
carrying their own belongings, and some people also were made to
the things the Yellow Headbands had looted.  Everyone carried their
belongings except me - I had nothing.  Later I looked for my small
basket of vegetables, but I couldn't find it anymore.=20

The Yellow Headbands didn't beat anyone, but when people complained
that their belongings were heavy and they wanted to rest, the
forced them to keep going.  They wouldn't let them rest.  The
villagers were in the middle - some soldiers were walking in front of
them, and others were behind.  But there were also soldiers in the
middle, so they could watch that nobody tried to escape.  Near Tee
Baw, some shooting started and everyone started running here and
there.  They shot just one magazine each, then the fighting was over.=20
No Yellow Headbands were hurt.  Everybody escaped at the fighting
except Deh Mu, Johnny and I, because we were tied up.  I have no idea
why those two were tied up - maybe they were afraid they were going
try to escape.  I told the soldiers that my wife and small children
were left behind.  I said, "My children are small and my wife is not
well.  Please let me go home".  They said "That's okay", and they let
me free.=20

They said they would take Deh Mu to Khaw Taw [Myaing Gyi Ngu, DKBA
headquarters] to the monks.  They said they will give him magic
medicine to drink, and after that the monks will send him back to
all his family with him down to Khaw Taw.  If you drink this
you have to obey whatever they order you=20

to do.  And if you don't obey and do things against the monks, then
bad things will happen to you.  They crossed the river [back into
Burma] near Thu Mwe Hta [the junction of the Moei and Salween
I saw them take Deh Mu with my own eyes.  It was near a Thai outpost
- surely the Thais saw them crossing the river.=20

The group I was with, they were all Karens.  I knew them from before.=20
But there were other groups, and I don't know about the other groups.=20
According to what the soldiers said, there were surely some Burmese.=20
They did this operation with the help of SLORC.  They said, "This
we come to burn the village without the Burmese.  But next time,
they'll come along with us and it will be worse than this time."  I
think the Burmese will come along, destroy the village, harass the
people and try to catch important KNU leaders.  When they catch the
leaders, I don't know what they will do.  When the Yellow Headbands
arrived at the camp they asked, "Are there any foreigners here?"  I
said, "There are", and they said "We're going to arrest the
foreigners."  I said, "Don't do that.  Have pity on the foreigners.=20
It will be very hard for them."  They said they would take the
foreigners down to Khaw Taw.  What they will do with them there, I
don't know!=20

My house was not destroyed - I live in Section 5.  They said they
come back and completely destroy the whole camp.  I'm afraid to stay
here, but I can't go anywhere else.  I don't know the way, and I
speak Thai.  I can only stay here, even though I am afraid.  If all
the others move, I will follow them.
NAME:     "Naw Eh Htoo"  SEX: F         AGE: 21   Karen Buddhist
FAMILY:   Married with 1 child aged 3=AB months
ADDRESS:  Refugee at Mae Ra Mu Klo      INTERVIEWED:   27/4/95=20
["Naw Eh Htoo" was hit in the back of her left shoulder by a bullet,
which left a =AB-inch hole and exited through the front of her
I lived in Section 1.  My house was only 2 or 3 houses from the Thai
police station [army post].  The day before yesterday the Yellow
Headbands came and I tried to run away.  They were shooting, and I
hurt.  When they came, my husband and I were giving the baby a bath.=20
I told my husband to run.  My baby was naked, and I wrapped him in a
piece of sarong and started running.  I was hit just a few steps from
my house.  I had to carry my baby in only one arm [because of her
wound].  I tried to run, run, and run until I reached the foot of a
big rock, and the wound became worse and worse.  I was bleeding alot
- even my baby was stained with my blood.  I rested near the big
My wound was bleeding and painful.  I tried to stop the bleeding by
tying the cloth from my baby around my shoulder.  It was very
I could only use one arm.  While I was resting, I saw them go up to
the place where the Thai troops stayed, and they cleared the place.=20
Then they came down the hill and saw me and told me, "Don't be
Come with us."  I was afraid, so I went along with them.  I went and
stayed under my house.  Then they started blowing a whistle, and they
rushed and fired into the village and after that they started burning
down the houses.  They burned the houses with [cigarette] lighters,
lighting the roof [the roofs are made of leaves].  When they burned
the houses I was under my house.  I saw them start fires on other
houses, and then the fire spread to my house.  I started running to
escape from the fire.  They also were leaving the camp.  They told me
to go upstream with them, but I told them I couldn't because I was
wounded.  I sat down on the bank of the stream and rested there.=20
didn't do anything to me.  They just left me behind.

My wound still hurts now.  The bullet penetrated at the back and=20

came out in the front.  At the back you can put your little finger in
the wound, and in the front you can put your thumb in.  The bone is
okay though.  The medic put some medicine and a dressing on it and
wrapped it in a bandage.  It hurts when I move my arm up and down.

I am afraid to stay here.  I feel there is no safety anywhere in this
area.  There is nothing bad between me and the Yellow Headbands, but
I'm afraid that when they come to the camp and people run here and
there a bullet could hit me.  But they will never torture me.  When
they set fire to the other houses I told them "I will go into my
to get some things".  They didn't say anything so I went into my
house, but I could only get a few belongings.  The rest burned
together with my house.  I saved as much as I could - only 2 cooking
pots, 3 plates and some blankets.  Now I have nothing.  I have no
money to buy clothing, and I can't sleep twice in the same place.  I
move every night from one place to another [she is still staying
to Section 2 and is afraid of further attacks].  I just have to stay
like this.

NAME:     "Saw Wah"      SEX: M    AGE: 32   Karen
FAMILY:   Married with 4 children aged 8, 5, 2, and a 2-week-old baby
ADDRESS:  Refugee at Mae Ra Mu Klo      INTERVIEWED:   27/4/95=20
[Both "Saw Wah" and his wife "Htoo Htoo" (see below) were wounded by
shrapnel in the attack.  He was hit in the upper leg and could only
walk with great difficulty when interviewed, while she had a very
small wound in the heel.]

We live in Section 2.  The day before yesterday I was in my house by
the school [in the part of section 2 which wasn't burned].  I didn't
see anything, I just heard shooting.  I was cooking rice at the time.=20
When they shot, they hit me,and then I started running.  I was hit in
my leg, from a big gun.  The shell exploded right at my house.  I
don't know how many shells, I just ran away as soon as I heard
shooting.  After that they arrived at our house.  They burned the
house.  They didn't see me because I had run away.  I went to the
clinic, but I saw nobody there so I kept going.  I never saw the
Yellow Headbands.

Now my wound is very painful.  My house burned down and I have
left.  Now I am going to live in Section 3.  If they come back again,
I can't run anywhere because I can't even run.  My wife was also
wounded.  I don't know what to think about the Yellow Headbands.  I
can't do anything about it.

[His wife, "Htoo Htoo", age 30, added the following:]

I was staying in my house with my husband.  I was taking care of my
baby.  I heard the sound, gunshots.  I ran.  When the explosion came
I was still in the house.  As soon as I got hit, I started running.=20
Now I can walk, but it is a little bit painful.  If they come back we
will run, even if we cannot run we will run.
Baw Noh (Meh Tha Waw) camp

NAME:     "Ma Htway"          SEX: F         AGE: 20        Karen
FAMILY:   Single
ADDRESS:  Refugee at Baw Noh            INTERVIEWED:   29/4/95=20
Yesterday the Yellow Headbands arrived at 8:30 or 9 o'clock in the
morning.  They came and fired their guns.  When we heard the
we ran and hid under the houses.  We didn't know where they were
coming from, so we couldn't run outside the camp [mortar shells were
being fired into the back half of the camp while the DKBA entered
the front, so to the refugees it probably sounded like they were
coming from all directions at once].  We couldn't run anywhere.  When
they started shooting, we tried to run anyway.  After they entered
camp we couldn't go back to get our belongings, so they burnt our
houses and our belongings too.  We just ran for our lives without
anything.  My sister and I, we didn't know where to go.  One shell
exploded behind the monastery.  Many shells exploded inside the camp.=20
I can't say exactly how many but some  exploded close to me, so close
I thought I must have been hit.  One of my nephews got alot of debris
on his head from an explosion and I thought that he was hit, but
I wiped off his head I realized that he was okay.  Shells were
exploding around other families too.  They fired a lot.

Some people were burnt in the fire, their whole bodies.  One was
to death.  She was a young unmarried girl.  She was 18 years old, and
was a student in 10th standard.  Her name was Geh Moo Paw.  Her 2
younger brothers are also schoolboys, her mother is a schoolteacher
and her father is a Christian pastor [her father,=20

Saw Abraham, is the Seventh-Day Adventist pastor, a sect particularly
hated by the DKBA because it is Gen. Bo Mya's religion].  The Yellow
Headbands told them not to run:  "If you run, we will shoot you".  So
they stayed under the burning house because they weren't allowed to
run anywhere.  They could get away only when the Yellow Headbands
there, and when they left their daughter was already burnt to death.=20
All the family members were burnt.

The Yellow Headband soldiers said "We will come back again.  Now, who
dares to come and face our challenge?"  Everybody is afraid to face
them.  Some [Thai] soldiers were near the camp, but when they saw the
Yellow Headband troops they ran away.  Then the Yellow Headbands took
the villagers' belongings, and after that they burned their houses.=20
They also burned our hospital.  They were yelling in loud voices but
I don't know what they were yelling at.  After that, they left the
camp.  A few minutes later an airplane came and circled around, and
they started shooting at the plane.  The plane shot back 2 shots and
then left.  The soldiers didn't take any prisoners from the refugee
camp, but they took one Thai policeman with them together with all
belongings, even his gun.  We heard that later they released him with
all his belongings.  When the Thai police knew that one of their
comrades was taken prisoner they sent a message.  That's when the
plane came.=20
After the plane left we watched and waited for the fire to stop.  We
were very hungry because we hadn't had any breakfast, but the fire
kept burning on.  Most of the people lost everything.  After all the
Yellow Headbands were gone, we started heading towards the main road
and we went towards Bo Pah Hta to stay there [the main road is the
Sot - Mae Sariang highway which passes Baw Noh, and Bo Pah Hta is
about 20 km. to the south].

Six people were wounded.  Some were burned by the fire and some were
wounded by gunshots.  The ones who were burnt were sent to Meh Tha
[the big Thai village a few kilometres to the north], and the others
were taken to Sho Kloh hospital where the doctor stays [Sho Kloh
refugee camp, 20 km. south, has a few foreign doctors].

I saw maybe 40 soldiers.  Only that many came inside the camp but
more were waiting outside.  Some were wearing uniforms and others
civilian clothes.  There were no SLORC soldiers that I saw, all were
Yellow Headbands.  They said they would come back again.  We don't
dare stay in this camp anymore.  I can't bear anymore what they are
doing to us.  We don't want to go back to stay under the SLORC
anymore, so we have to try to face whatever we have to face right

[The day before the attack] the Thai police showed up and told all
refugees, "If you have any guns in your camp go and get them, because
helicopters will come and more police will come too, and if they see
that you have guns then there will be trouble for you."  And [the
morning] they collected all the guns from the camp security forces.=20
Then they left, and just a few minutes after that the Yellow
came in and started shooting and burning the camp.
[An older Karen woman refugee, married with small children, at Baw
added the following:]

I want to move to another place but I have no money.  I can't pay for
my bus fare.  I have to rely completely on my sister, because she has
a small shop.  We don't have anyone else.  If we had some money we
would flee to another place that would be safe for my children and I
and where our house, our clothes and=20

our belongings won't be burnt again.  Yesterday we moved to another
place, Bo Pah Hta.  We took nothing with us.  The villagers at that
place gave some food for us and the children.  If we didn't have
someone to give us food, we'd have nothing to eat.  We stayed at Bo
Pah Hta last night but we heard rumours that the Yellow Headbands
come and attack there, so now we have moved to another place again.=20
We run and run and run, and we can't do anything about it.  Without
food, without money, now we are surely refugees!

[Another Karen Buddhist refugee woman from the camp, a widow over 50,
whose house was burned added the following:]

One of the soldiers said to the villagers, "Now you see DKBA
Are you afraid of us?  We are going to continue burning your houses!"=20
I said to them, "Why do you do this to us?  We have only small
I am a widow.  Please don't burn down my house.  I have no husband
and I am very poor.  If you burn down my house, what will I do?=20
Please don't."  When they were leaving, one of them said "These
houses right here are Buddhist.  Don't set them on fire."  And they
didn't.  When they left the camp, I followed them with my little son
in my arms, and when I reached the big bridge [on the highway] I ran
to hide under the bridge.  I saw 2 Thai policemen under there.  They
were calling me, "Come here.  Come here."  They were also afraid of
the Yellow Headbands.  I went to them.  There were only 2 of them,
and they were afraid.  Our camp leader was in Meh Tha Waw [village].=20
If he had been in the camp they would have killed him for sure.  He
was lucky.=20

The Yellow Headbands said we all have to go back to the Burma side.=20
They said if we do not listen to their orders, they will come back
again in the next few days, and then they will not burn anything
they will just kill all the people they find in the camp.  We are
afraid to go back, and we are afraid to stay here.  If we go back to
Burma, we will have no money to survive there.  We hope that our
[camp] leaders will arrange another place for us to stay.  We know
that our leaders love us and we hope they will arrange another place
for us where these people of our own nationality who oppress us
cannot reach us, cannot touch us, cannot oppress us.  I will say the
truth.  While we were staying in Burma, the Burmese were oppressing
us in many ways.  That's why we fled to Thailand, and while we are
staying in Thailand we thank our [refugee] leaders very very much for
the way they try their best to look after us.  We don't want to go
back to Burma to be oppressed and suffer so much pain.  We want to
stay here. =20

We have hope in our leaders and we thank them because they look after
us.  Now the Burmese want us to go back.  If we go back, they will
oppress us like before.  We don't want to suffer like that anymore so
we don't want to go back to Burma again.=20

Now they've attacked our camp and taken everything from us, they
didn't even leave us our torn longyis [sarongs].  More than that,
they burnt everything.  They didn't even leave a milk-tin of rice for
us. =20

Even when we wanted to run away for our lives because they'd set the
village on fire, they wouldn't let us go.  They wanted us to be
killed in the camp.  They said if we ran they would shoot us.  That
gives me so much pain.  There are no longyis, no cooking pots,
nothing left for us.  They burned down everything, and they wanted us
to be consumed by the fire too because they wouldn't let us go.  We
can't do anything.
My heart is shattered into pieces.  Our own nationality is oppressing
NAME:     "Saw Steven"        SEX: M    AGE: 36        Karen
ADDRESS:  Refugee at Baw Noh            INTERVIEWED:   29/4/95=20
My responsibility is the security of the camp.  The Yellow Headbands
came into the camp at 9:10 yesterday morning.  I think there were 100
of them.  They were all wearing uniforms.  They spoke to each other
Karen, but some didn't speak at all.  I'm sure there were Burmese,
because whenever they come there are always Burmese soldiers with
them.  This time I think the Burmese stayed on the other side of the
[Moei] river, ready as reinforcements.  They didn't come into the
camp.  Instead they were helping the Yellow Headbands by shelling
the camp.  The shells exploded here, and there.  All over the camp
indicated the back half of the=20

camp].  The Yellow Headbands entered the camp.  They asked for money,
gold and other belongings, and they took them.  They were shooting
their guns, AK47, M16, M79 grenade launcher and RPG [rocket-propelled
grenade].  They shot everywhere they wanted, at the side of the
mountain, at the trees, everywhere.

There was a little shooting with the Thai soldiers, and then they
fled.  The Thais had no casualties, but the Yellow Headbands had 2
wounded near the Thai police station.  At the time, the Karens had
been informed that a high-ranking Thai army officer would come to Baw
Noh and the Thais told the Karen soldiers who provide camp security
hide their weapons, so we hid our weapons by burying them.  Just
that, the Yellow Headbands came.=20
There were 5 wounded and 1 death, 6 casualties.  The dead person was
burnt to death, she was the daughter of Pastor Abraham.  A group of
Yellow Headbands came and asked "Where does Abraham live?"  They
alot about Abraham.  The family was afraid to come out so they hid
under the house, and their daughter was burnt to death.  The Yellow
Headbands set the house on fire.  Geh Moo Paw was afraid to come out
from under the house because of them, and she was burned to death.=20
They also set fire to the hospital, the school, and all the houses.=20
Three people were wounded by fire - Pastor Abraham, his wife and
youngest child, a boy.  The pastor is about 47.  His wife is 39 or
40, and their son is 12 years old.  They were sent to hospital by the
MSF [Medecins Sans Frontieres] team.  They were staying under their
house in holes with overhead protection, and they were afraid to come
out because of the Yellow Headbands.  Two people were wounded by
shell splinters from 81 mm. mortar shells [which were fired from
Each person was hit by 2 or 3 pieces of shrapnel, here, here, and
here, one person by fragments in both shoulders and the nose, the
other in the lower leg.

The Yellow Headbands were in the camp about 1=AB hours.  They took 3
people with them - 2 Indians [Burmese Muslims] and one Karen.  They
released them all later.  They also took some women to carry back the
things they'd looted.  They said that all the people in the camp have
to go back to Burma side.  They said if we go back there will be
peace for us but if we stay here there will be no peace.  But the
people in the camp realize that if they go back to Burma they surely
cannot live peacefully, so they don't want to go back.  They
scattered in the jungle - some went upstream [east into the hills
further into Thailand].  One or two families went back to Burma.  I
will stay here.  I was given a responsibility and I will continue to
carry out my duty.

The DKBA soldiers are being used by SLORC.  They were former KNU
soldiers [in reality, most of them are conscripted villagers - only a
small percentage are former soldiers].  They joined and cooperated
with SLORC, and now SLORC is using them to attack us.  The DKBA
soldiers have no political ideas.  They are religious extremists and
they are against us.  They don't listen to KNU policies anymore.=20
They are only fighting over religion.  They are not fighting for
their people anymore.
Kamaw Lay Ko camp

NAME:     "Thra Kaser Doh"    SEX: M    AGE: 54        Karen
FAMILY:   Married with 6 children aged 10-30
ADDRESS:  Refugee at Kamaw Lay Ko       INTERVIEWED:   01/5/95=20
I am a refugee in this camp.  I work as a member of the school
committee.  The Yellow Headbands came on the 25th [of April] at 11
p.m.  I was in my house, and I saw them.  There were more than=20

one hundred, wearing uniforms.  About 50 or 60 soldiers entered the
camp.  Half were DKBA, and half were SLORC soldiers.  I can't say
exactly how many because we couldn't follow them and check, but with
my own eyes I saw 10 SLORC soldiers.  Some of them were also hiding
in other places.  I could tell they were SLORC because they had
different arm badges.  I could see the difference in the arm badges,
but I
couldn't see their Division or Battalion numbers because we were
running from them.  It was night time and I could only see from a
short distance.  The SLORC arm badges were red.  The DKBA soldiers'
badges were white [SLORC badges are red with a white symbol on them,
and DKBA badges are pale yellow with white].  I heard the Yellow
Headbands talking, sometimes in Sgaw Karen, sometimes in Pwo Karen
and sometimes in Burmese.  Some had Western Pwo Karen accents.

The soldiers entered the camp from every direction.  They came in
from the school side, they stood at the school and started shelling
the camp with RPG-7, RPG-2, M79 grenade launchers and 60 mm. mortars
[RPG-7 & RPG-2 are two types of Rocket-Propelled Grenade].  They also
fired small arms.  Some shot into the air and some shot at the
surface of the ground.  There was so much shooting.  My house was hit
by several bullets, and some shells exploded very close to me.  When
they started setting fire to the houses, some Yellow Headbands
allowed people to try to stop the fire but the Burmese soldiers
wouldn't allow it - they wouldn't even allow people to get out of
their houses, but people jumped down and ran away anyway.  Most of
the Burmese soldiers were in the market [section of the camp].  Some
soldiers shot the houses and made them burn [with RPGs, grenades or
tracer bullets] and some set fire to the houses with lighters.  They
started by setting fire to the middle school, then they came into the
village and set fire to the houses.  The fire spread because of the
wind.  One person was slightly wounded, Eh Pree Pa.  He is about 32
years old.  He was wounded in his leg by RPG shrapnel.

The soldiers stayed in the camp until 12:30, maybe a bit earlier,
then they left.  They tried to look for the camp leaders but everyone
had run away so there was nothing they could do.  All the refugees
ran away - some took refuge in the monastery.  The soldiers took
everything they found in the village, even the biscuits for small
children.  Later they carried their lootings back by themselves.=20
They captured 3 young boys, took them to the village cemetery and
released them there.  They released the 3 boys with the message that
all the refugees have to go back to Burma within 2 days.  They said
if the villagers do not listen, they will come back again and then
the refugees will see!

After they left some of the refugees came back, but most slept
outside the camp.  Some haven't come back yet, even now.  We don't
know what to do.  If our leaders ask us to stay here, we will stay.=20
We've decided to stay because if we move to a new place it will be
very difficult for us to build new houses and also for other things.=20
We have to find leaves for our roof, bamboo for houses and things
like that.  So we hope our leaders will arrange for us to stay here
the whole rainy season.  We don't want to go to any big camp
[referring to the Thai plan to move all the refugees into big closed
camps].  We
want to stay here.  If they treat the refugees like in Bangladesh or
the Cambodian border, then we can't go outside the camp to get
vegetables or hunt.  It will be hard for us to get enough food, and
we won't be free.

[When the soldiers came] there were 4 Thai police staying at the
checkpoint [along the car highway at the northeast end of the camp -
one group of soldiers entered the camp this way].  They didn't shoot,
they were afraid.  Now there are no Thai soldiers=20
here, and there are no Karen soldiers either.
The DKBA are the SLORC's slaves, and the SLORC are using them.  When
they realize that they cannot use them anymore, they will kill them
all.  If we go to live in Khaw Taw [Myaing Gyi Ngu, DKBA
headquarters], we will have to drink the monk's medicine and worship
him - otherwise you cannot go there.

NAME:     "Thra Baw Po"       SEX: M    AGE: 46        Karen
FAMILY:   Married with 9 children aged 18 months to 23 years
ADDRESS:  Refugee at Kamaw Lay Ko       INTERVIEWED:   01/5/95=20
["Thra Baw Po" is the Baptist pastor at the camp.]

When they came I was in my house.  I was sleeping with my children.=20
I didn't see them at first.  After they started shooting and came
into the camp I saw them.  I woke up and put my children in a hole in
the ground.  They entered the village and kept shooting more.  Then
we went outside the camp and up a small hill.  I could see them start
moving everywhere through the camp shouting, yelling, cursing, and
they started setting fire to the houses.  They did whatever they
wanted in the camp, and we could only watch them from a distance.  My
house was completely burnt down.  I have nothing left.  This bag is
my house now.  [He showed his small Karen cloth shoulder bag.]
NAME:     "Naw Say"      SEX: F         AGE: 46        Karen
Christian FAMILY:   Married with 1 child aged 23
ADDRESS:  Refugee at Kamaw Lay Ko       INTERVIEWED:   01/5/95=20
They came on the 25th.  I was staying in my house.  We were all in
houses sleeping.  I woke up and heard gunshots at about 11 o'clock at
night and ran away.  I saw them.  They were wearing uniforms.  I saw
one Yellow Headband soldier with a porter.  I think there were some
SLORC soldiers with them because some of them could not speak Karen.=20
When I was running away from the camp, one Yellow Headband soldier
stepped on my foot.  I told him, "Are you blind?"  Then I looked up
at him and saw the yellow headband on his head, and I didn't say
anything else and ran.  Then I saw another one just wandering around
the camp. He asked me "Where did all my friends go?"  I told him, "I
don't know.
Maybe they went that way", and I pointed to the river [towards

I saw them setting the houses on fire.  I managed to come back and
stop the fire at my house.  I could save some of my belongings.  I
can still live in my own house, because it didn't burn completely.=20
If they come back again, I will run away.  If they tell me to go to
Khaw Taw, I will not go.  If they [refugee leaders] arrange a place
for us where we don't have to be afraid of the Yellow Headbands, I
will go and stay there.
NAME:     "Saw Lah"      SEX: M    AGE: 34        Karen Christian
FAMILY:   Married with 3 children aged 4-8
ADDRESS:  Refugee at Kamaw Lay Ko       INTERVIEWED:   01/5/95=20
We rely on our leaders to arrange something for us.  Many people are
going back to Burma, but not me.   I will wait and see what our
leaders will arrange for us.  DKBA and SLORC soldiers are the same.=20
We do not believe them.  So I have decided not to go back.  We want
to live in peace.  We hope that big countries in the outside world
will help us to live in peace.


I am here in Norway teaching about politics to DVB staff.  There
production is impressive. Very professional. I have also seen the
letters from people in Burma.  They are being heard all over central
If you would like to listen the frequency is 11850 khz (25 meter
Band) 2100-2125 Burma time. and the 41 meter band from 0700-0725
burma time.=20
They welcome requests and letters.
DVB PO Box 6720
St. Olavs Plass
0130 OSLO

Telephone is 47-22-200021
fax is 47-22-114988
email is  dvb@xxxxxxxxxxx

If you have advice, please write it on the back of a check. They can
use both kinds of assistance.

Yours Virtually,
Michael Beer
nonviolence international

26.5.95/The Nation

China's economic and political actions in Burma could lead to serious
regional tensions ,AP'S DENIS GRAY writes from Mandalay=20

Languid, golden Mandalay was the quintessential Burmese city. The
last capital of Burma's nobility , it was said to have the country's
finest craftsmen , holiest monks and most delicious.=20

Today, it could be mistaken for a Chinatown on make. Old wooden homes
are being knocked down to make way for garish , concrete structures .
Traffic and business transactions -often conducted in Chinese
-approach the frenetic.

The city's main market stokes crates of medicine, fake American -
label jeans , tools, foodstuffs and appliances - all from China ,
which now dominates the economy of northern Burma. Meanwhile, Burma's
Chinese neighbor is gaining military and political leverage with
national government in Rangoon.

" China is the biggest country in the world. It has so many people so
of course they come down. One day this part of the would will be a
colony of China , " says market trader Zaw Tun.=20

Whatever China's ultimate ambitions its thrust into Burma along with
recent aggressive action in the South China Sea and a major naval
buildup are stoking fears in region.

Having forged close military ties with the ruling junta in Rangoon
and reportedly helping build Burmese naval facilities, China is seen
by some analysts as seeking access via Burma to India Ocean for its
bluewater navy.

But most concrete at present is the spillover of Chinese economic
power across its southern border , not only into northern Burma but
northern areas of Laos and even Vietnam , its centuries -old enemy.

Recent travellers from the upper reaches of Laos report a similar
influx of Chinese goods, traders, some illegal immigrants and the
widespread use of Chinese " renminbi" currency as is seen in Burma.

With Burma, two-way trade during the year ending February
amounted to $ 1.2 billion , or 60 per cent of the country's total
exports and imports.

Although the numbers are difficult to gauge, some Chinese have bribed
their way into settling in Mandalay -located at the center of Burma
-and in areas to the north towards the Chinese frontier.=20
Together with rich resident ethnic Chinese and expatriate Sino-
Burmese returning home , they are creating resentment by driving up
land prices and beating locals in business competition .=20

"If you see a Mercedes Benz you know for sure who is inside - a
Chinese ," says a resident of Rangoon , where a number of rich Sino-
Burmese have returned to invest and make fortunes.

Mya Maung, an expert on Burma at Boston College in the United States
, believes this general Chinese influence is a " time bomb." But
officials argue that any existing resentment will not boil over,
noting that traditionally the Chinese have integrated smoothly into
Burmese society.

Those opposed to the military believe that if democracy were restored
and the country truly opened up to the rest of the world, Chinese
influence would wane.

Long neutral, Burma swung into China's orbit following the brutal
put-down of a pro-democracy uprising in 1988 and the emergence of a
military junta which follows Beijing's mix of political control and
economic liberalization. Like China, Burma is criticized in the West
for its human rights violations.

Aiming to double the size of its military force, now estimated at
300,000 troops, Rangoon turned to Beijing which sold the junta some $
1.2 billion  worth of weaponry and extended loans at " friendship "
rates .

Although denied by visiting Chinese Premier Li Peng as " sheer
fabrication," western intelligence reports show the Chinese have for
several years been helping to construct three deepwater ports and
have installed a sophisticated radar facility on the Coco Islands in
the Indian Ocean.

"Beijing is engaged in building strategic road links from its border
towns to all raiheads and seaports of Burma .It is helping to develop
these ports," said the recently released annual report of India's
Defence Ministry .

"These are strategic moves of very high importance," says David
Shambaugh, professor of Chinese politics at the University of London.
" Beijing views Burma as a vital buffer state in relation to India,"

In a telephone interview , Shambaugh said that in the long term ,
China's actions in Burma could lead to more serious regional tensions
than rivalry over the oil-rich Spratley Islands in the South China

Earlier this year, China seized one reef of the Spratley chain, which
is also claimed in all or in part by Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia,
Brunei and the Philippines.

This, together with a major program to upgrade China's navy, has sent
ripples of concern from Manila to New Delhi.

Increasingly, the question is being asked: Is China embarked on a
determined course to dominate Southeast Asia , or are recent
developments just byproducts of an economic dynamo heading towards
super-power status.?

26.5.95/The Nation

Farrakhan Ahmed thrusts a handful of small pieces of jade, varying in
green, at curious passersby to interest them in his collection of
gems .

On his hand are fake gold rings inlaid with sapphires and rubies. In
a leather pouch securely fastened to his waist are more precious

Ahmed is a Rohingya Muslim who hails from Arakan state on
Bangladesh -Burma border. But for the  last two years he has been
living in the Chinese border town of Ruili, on the other side of

Every morning ,he joins other Burmese Muslims at stalls near the bus
stop or inside the market to get some tea and home-style breakfast
before setting off in search in Chinese buyers.

"Not all of these are real," he confides with a wink, displaying a
stone whose centre shines a bright green " compared with the duller
edges. " My friends in Burma have machines that can Chinese border,
and then by bus to Muse , the Burmese frontier town.

Burma's ruling military junta has not allowed jade to be traded
freely and has recently demanded that all jade mined in Burma be sold
through the military controlled Myanmar Gems Enterprise. Under the
supervision of the Enterprise, the jade is then sold at the
international gems emporia or at the Panglong Gems market in Rangoon.

Most Burmese jade traders prefer to sell the jade directly to Chinese
merchants because they can fetch much higher prices than through the
junta. The jade is smuggled into China through Chinese border towns
like Tengchong , Yingjang and Ruili. Once in China some of the jade
is fashioned into jewellery and sold at the local market while the
remainder is shipped in raw form and sold abroad.

There traders like Ahmed, who have acquired six-month visas to live
on the Chinese side of the border , walk over the border and hop into
a little country taxi for the 10 minute ride  over the bridge on the
Shweli river Ruili.

This bridge is called the " gun bridge" by traders because of the
shipments of Chines weapons  to the military government that has
controlled Burma for the last 33 years.

Two years ago the Chinese supplied Burma with an estimated US$ 1.4
billion worth of weapons and just four months ago it was reported to
have sent another $400 million worth of arms.

"We saw and heard nothing. But the Burmese service of the BBC
reported the sale and we have seen the army using Chinese trucks in
Burma when using Chinese trucks in Burma  when we go back to visit
our families," says Ahmed.

Some 500 trucks are said to have crossed the bridge one October night
carrying small arms multiple rocket launchers. Many of the trucks
were given to the Burmese military as transport . The deal also
included fighter jets , helicopter gunships and frigates.=20
Heading the other way, everyday and every night , are convoys of
Chinese trucks carrying timber from forests on the Burmese border.
Stamped with the symbols of the indigenous Burmese rebel groups like
the Kachin, who control the border , they head towards Kunming, the
capital of this southern Chinese province of Yunnan.

Ahmed estimates as many as 10,000 Burmese live in Ruili, trading gems
and timber for cash and cheap Chinese goods from soap to television
sets and bicycles. About a third of them are Muslims from Arakan,
with Indian features. Others from towns closer to the Chinese border
look, and often are , Chinese , so they melt into the town.

Burmese traders have been crossing the border for almost 10 years,
since China abandoned its use of Ruili as a base for the Communist
Party of Burma. and started trading with Burma.

Today the official cross-border trade has shot up from $15 million a
year just a decade ago to $ 360 million, although unofficial
estimates say it is four times as high. This trade has transformed a
once sleepy town into a bustling outpost.=20

Almost no foreigners come to this town which is almost unknown
outside Yunnan. But for the Yunnanese, who visit in droves, there are
a myriad pleasure ,from sex and drugs to rock and roll.=20
Almost every corner has karaoke machines playing full blast, and
young Chinese and Burmese women beckon seductively to passing men
from red-lit massage parlours in the market , while open air and
night -club style discotheques boast stylish hostesses . Heroin and
opium are also reportedly easily reportedly easily available.  =20
Rahimullah Khan, another Burmese trader, says he does not spend any
of the money he earns on such pleasures but sends it all back to his

He says he makes 4,000 Chinese yuan [about $500] a month from trading
gems , compared  to the average income of $20 a month in Burma . Most
of his customers are individual visitors from other parts of China
but he says there are others traders who sell in bulk to the dozens
of Chinese gem shops in the town , making much greater profits.

In the centre of the market, a thriving black market of Burmese and
Chinese traders, he busy six-inch-thick bundles of kyat at the rate
of 14 kyat to the yuan [115 kyat to the dollar], almost 20 times the
official rate, which he then takes back to his family in Rangoon .

A few of the traders like Yagub Ahmed have brought their families
with them. Tucked into one-room houses in the back streets of Ruili
that they rent for about $30 a month , they live as they might have
in Burma, cooking their own food and watching pirated video copies of
Hindi musicals from India.

" Our Rohingya brothers and sisters in Arakan are being tortured by
the Burmese army. Many have fled to Bangladesh and Tripura in India
but they have to live in refugee camps . That's why we prefer to come
here . The money is good and the Chinese give us no trouble at all,"
says Ahmed, as he settles down for a lunch of rice and curry with his

Across the border from the bustling markets of Ruili is Muse. With
its one main road and ramsackle market, the Burmese town reflects
little of the wealth of its Chinese neighbour. And yet it is Burmese
jade that largely fuels Ruili's economy.

While some Burmese j