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KHRG #96-31 (r)


       An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group
                August 1, 1996     /     KHRG #96-31





NAME:    "Saw Maw Lay"       SEX: M     AGE: 45     Karen
FAMILY:  Married, 4 children
ADDRESS: Kamaw Lay Ko village, Thailand             INTERVIEWED: 31/5/96

["Saw May Lay"'s sister-in-law was killed when the DKBA attacked
Kamaw Lay Ko village on 28 April 1996.  They are originally from Burma
a long time ago, but they are not refugees.  There used to be a Karen
refugee camp at Kamaw Lay Ko, but it was abandoned after it was burned
by a joint DKBA/SLORC force in April 1995.]

On 28 April 1996 at 9 p.m. Thai time, I was sleeping in my house in
Kamaw Lay Ko village.  My brother-in-law and my sister-in-law had just
visited me that evening and they had gone back to their house.  Their house
is only about 50 yards away from mine.  They were not sleeping yet.

Then I heard gunshots and the screaming and crying of the family.  Within
one minute after the gunshots, my sister-in-law ran into my house with her
youngest child.  She laid down on the floor and showed me her wounds.
She was hit by three bullets but she was not bleeding.  She must have been
bleeding inside.

The other villagers hid.  They were too afraid to see what happened.  She
said she saw 6 people, but only 4 came inside the house to rob and shoot.
The others stayed behind.  First, they pointed their guns and asked for
money.  They got the money and left, taking her husband with them.  She
was left in the house.  She was afraid for her husband and left the house to
get him back.  Her husband pushed the men to run away and shouted at her
to run.  Their youngest child followed his mother.  So, the mother and the
child ran one way and the husband another way.  Then the men shot at
them.  I heard about 40 rounds fired.  The husband managed to escape and
was not hurt, but she and the child were hit.  One bullet passed through Ka
La Myint's body and hit her child.  She was hit by three bullets in her back
and her child by one bullet.  Then she ran to my house and asked for a car
to take her to hospital.  One platoon of Thai soldiers had just arrived to
guard the village.  They were sleeping and hadn't heard anything.  I woke
them up and asked their help to send her to the hospital.  We got a car and
sent her to Mae Tan hospital.  Then she was transferred to Mae Sot hospital
where she got an operation.  Her intestines were cut in three different
places.  She had 10 bottles of blood but she died the next morning.

Her name was Ka La Myint.  She was 22 years old.  She was Karen and
Buddhist.  She was married and had 2 children aged 6 and 4 and she was 4
months pregnant.  Her elder child was hiding under the house and was not
hurt.  The other child's name is Wah Nah.  He is 4 years old.  The bullet
that passed through his mother's body hit him on the side of his belly and
remained in his body.  He also went to hospital.  They removed the bullet
and now he is okay.

Q:  Why did they attack them?
A:  For the money.  They robbed 300,000 Baht and also 10 baht-weight of
gold jewellery.  But the money was not theirs, it was to pay their workers
the sawmills [the husband owns sawmills].  He had that amount of money
just that day.  Someone in the village must have been an informer.

Q:  What clothes were the men wearing who attacked them?
A:  They were not sure if they were wearing military clothes or not, because
it was dark.  But they had painted their faces with charcoal dust.  The four
men who came inside the house had guns: two AK's and two M-16's [AK47
and M16 automatic assault rifles].  They didn't say anything.  They only
asked for the money and pointed their guns at them.  They asked in Karen
language.  Afterwards, people enquired about them and found out that three
of them were from the Burma side.  They are linked with DKBA.  We are
not sure whether they are DKBA members or not.  You know, many
people who returned from the refugee camps to Burma [in 1995] found
themselves with no work and nothing to do, so some of them joined
DKBA.  They don't really become DKBA soldiers but they get help from
them.  I think they received weapons.

Ka La Myint's husband burnt down his own house and went back to stay
with his family in another village.  The children are now staying there,
their grandparents.  Even now, they are still trying to get money from him
the new place.  His sawmill is on the Burma side, in DKBA area, and they
want to get taxes.  I don't know how much money.  He agreed to pay them,
but his wood was not ready to sell so he had no money to pay them.  At
present, the Thai authorities are blocking the road and not allowing timber
to go for sale [apparently to cut off resources to the DKBA].  The sawmill
owners now have to pay taxes to SLORC, KNU, DKBA, and also to the
Thais.  Some sawmill owners refused to pay, and soldiers came and shot up
or burnt down the sawmill.  So some sawmill owners stopped their
business.  At Kyaw Lo Gwo, the DKBA came and asked for 50,000 Baht.
The owner refused to pay and they burnt down the whole sawmill last year.
It was a very big sawmill, that one.

Kamaw Lay Ko is one hour away from the riverside [border].  DKBA
come often to Kamaw Lay Ko village.  Within the last two months they
have come 4 times.  They came to Kamaw Lay Ko and crossed the village
on their way to Klay Mu Kyaw near the Mae Sot-Mae Sariang road.  That
is quite far from the river.  People called it the Kamaw Lay Ko sawmill.
the workers are Karens from Burma.  The owner and the manager are
Thais.  Some workers were not paid there, so they went back to Burma side
and came back to get money from them [with DKBA-provided weapons]
because they were angry.

The DKBA ask people to give things, but they never pay the price of the
goods.  Before this incident, they came to the village and to the sawmill
they didn't hurt anyone.  Sometimes, they even asked the villagers to carry
things to their side and afterwards these villagers can come back.  That
happened more than once!  Sometimes, they walk in the jungle and lose
their way, then they take a person to guide them and when they arrive at
their destination, they release the person.  That is in Thailand.  As long
they don't harm any Thai people, the [Thai] authorities feel it is not their
business.  Now the Thai Army has one platoon in Kamaw Lay Ko, the Tak
regiment [Task Force 34], not the Black Rangers.  Since the killing they are
staying there all the time.


NAME:    "Pa Boe"        SEX: M    AGE: 53         Karen Buddhist
FAMILY:  Married, 7 children
ADDRESS: xxxx village, Thailand                    INTERVIEWED: 31/5/96

["Pa Boe" is the father of Ka La Myint's husband (see previous interview),
who lives in Thailand but operates some small sawmills on the Burma side
of the border.  DKBA has been trying to extort money from "Pa Boe"'s son
as 'tax' for these sawmills, and has also robbed the village in Thailand
where "Pa Boe" lives.]

They came to this village at night time.  It must have been during the month
of Water Festival [April], the monk wrote it down.  We mind our own
business.  We just go to our field every morning and come back in the
afternoon.  Only that.  But people told me that they stole two motorcycles
and took a motorcycle to the other side [of the border]. The Thai teacher
wasn't there when his motorcycle was taken.  There were two motorcycles
together at that house.  They kept them at xxxx's house.  They took the two
motorcycles, one from xxxx and one from the Thai teacher.  They took one
along with them across the river and left the other one on the way because
they couldn't ride it.  So they pushed it, and when they couldn't push it
anymore they left it on the way.  DKBA grabbed the gold from xxxx's neck
but I don't know how much money they took from their family.  We heard
that the thieves robbed his house and took one motorcycle, one gold chain
and one video.

Moreover, they took one video from the monk [at Mae U Su; see report
#5].  This video was in the monk's servant's house.  The monk is abbot of
the monastery, people call him U Hkein Min.  He has lived there for over
ten years.  When the Monk and I went to worship at Tee Nya Mu, he said:
"Nowadays, even we monks have to be afraid and people consider us as
their enemy.  I don't know what to do".  The monk said that he would go to
Burma and ask them to return his video.  Then when he went to Burma and
asked for his video, DKBA told him: "We here haven't taken your video.  I
am not sure if they were our DKBA soldiers or not, though we heard that
they were DKBA soldiers.  The problem is that we don't know their names.
Do you know their names?" asked DKBA.  "I don't know", replied the
monk, "People just told me it was Ko Per Baw".  So the DKBA leader said,
"Then we cannot find the people who stole your video.  Wait for a while.
We will find out who they are.  But you don't know their names either, so it
will be difficult."  The monk said, "We don't know, because they came at
night time".  Then the monk came back to Thailand where he stays until
now.  But I don't know whether he got his video back or not.

Last night at about 7 p.m. DKBA came and asked for my son.  They said,
"Where has he gone to?"  I told them, "He already left in the afternoon".
They asked, "Will he come home this evening?" and I said, "No, he will
sleep somewhere else".  "So", they said, "tomorrow, if he comes back, tell
him to go and meet me at xxxx village.  Tell your son that tomorrow he
must go.  If he doesn't go, we won't come again.  We don't want to come
very often.  We are not children.  We have been waiting for him for a long
time.  He doesn't respect us.  I don't want him to think that we are
Tomorrow, tell him to come to the appointment".  I told them that I didn't
know whether he will be late or early.  "If he comes back, I will tell him.
For sure, I will ask him to go", I said.  And the man with one leg said, "We
will wait for him at xxxx village".

There were four of them.  One was wearing camouflage, but the others
were dressed like you and me.  It was night time and dark.  One of them
didn't say anything.  Three were speaking.  I didn't see any guns but I
know whether they had a pistol or not.  They came by car.  They left their
car near the village and came straight to my house.  I only recognised one
them, the one who has one leg, the left leg.  I don't know his name but he
has already been here twice.  When he said "We don't want to come very
often", he was angry.  Also he said, "If he doesn't come, later we won't
want the money anymore".  So I thought that they might kill him.

People complain that this [DKBA] group is taking advantage of our
villagers. Things never happened like this before.  They killed the monk at
U Thu Klo [Mae U Su in Thai].  He was an ordinary monk.  We don't
know which group of Ko Per Baw did that.  I went myself to his funeral
service in Mae Tan.


NAME:    "Saw Htoo Klih"     SEX: M      AGE: 20    Karen Christian student
FAMILY:  Single, 5 brothers and 2 sisters, mother already dead
ADDRESS: Ban Sala refugee camp, Thailand            INTERVIEWED: 4/6/96

["Saw Htoo Klih" was a witness to the DKBA attack at Ban Sala refugee
camp on 26/5/96.  The camp is over 10 km. inside Thailand.]

I used to live in Saw Hta.  Two years ago, I became a refugee.  We had to
move to Ka Htee Hta camp because the Burmese took our whole area.
Then after the DKBA was formed, we dared not stay there anymore and
our family moved to Sala camp.  [Ka Htee Hta camp was a main DKBA
target in 1995; see "SLORC's Northern Karen Offensive", KHRG #95-10,

When the attack happened, my father was not staying here.  He was away
visiting, in the mountains.  And my mother died already.  No one was
looking after us. We were all together [with his brothers and sisters].  It
was on a Sunday at midnight [on 26/5/96].  I was sleeping.

Before they came into my house,they threw one grenade which exploded.
They also threw another one which didn't explode.  Then they shouted:
"1, 2, 3, Up!" and they ran up to our house.  Four grenades were thrown
around our house but only three exploded.  They came into my house and
Hsar Htoo Wah's father's house but he wasn't at home.

When they came into my house, they pointed a knife at me.  It was an
ordinary knife, like the bayonet that the Burmese military use on the end of
their G-3 rifles, and he told me:  "We came with a lot of our friends.
run away.  Didn't you hear the grenades exploding?"  "Yes", I told them.   I
couldn't see what he was wearing because he put the torchlight in my face
and it was very bright since the batteries were new.  He wasn't actually
pointing the knife at me.  He was holding it in his hand and pointed  the
torchlight in my face.  Suddenly he told me to run away.  So I left
immediately, I took no time and dared not look at him.  I ran into my room.
I dared not run away [outside].  I didn't know where to run because they
also went to other houses.  I just ran inside my room and stayed quietly.
This man pointed a knife at me but didn't do anything to me.

Then he left but another man came to my house.  He was very angry and
asked me where were the camp leader and important people who are
staying in the camp.  We directed him, "The camp leader is over there".
But we didn't tell the truth.  So they were not sure where the headman or
the leaders were staying.  They came to this house here [the camp leader's
house, where the interview was conducted] and took 16 mosquito nets.  In
my house, they took one bag of clothes from my brothers and sisters.  I
don't know what they thought was in the bag.  They stayed for a moment
and then left up the hill.

There were 3 of them.  When they left, people saw 3 men together but they
were not sure how many came altogether.  Two of them went to Hsar Htoo
Wah's father's house and one man to my house.  They went to another
house and held the house owner with the knife straight to his temple.  I
didn't see if they were carrying guns, but I know they were carrying
grenades and a knife.  They talked a lot but I can't remember.  I only
remember them saying: "Where are the headman and the leaders?  Where
are the shops?  How many shops in the camp?"  They spoke in Karen
language.  All the villagers were afraid and dared not look at them.

A grenade damaged the shop because they threw it just in front of the shop
and it hit the walls and one of the women was wounded.  [Grenade
splinters went through the bamboo front wall; the woman was sleeping in
the shop just behind that wall and was hit by the splinters].  She was a
teacher.  She was sleeping in the shop.  She was seriously wounded in her
arm, slightly in her neck and she had two wounds on her head.  She is in
hospital.  When they threw the grenades, the owner of the shop ran away.
They entered into the shop and took 3,500 Baht.  They also took orange
juices, and cigarettes from Burma.

I don't know who these 3 men were.  These 3 men stayed about 30 minutes
in the camp, then they went away up that hill.  People told me that they saw
my brothers' and sisters' bag behind the mountain range.  I went to that
place to get it because we had no more clothes left.  They didn't do
to us but we were afraid of them.  It is the first time this has happened in
our camp.

[According to witnesses in the camp, the attackers were Pa Pa Yaw, Kaw
Paw and Maung Pu Tu, all of whom used to be refugees in Ka Htee Hta
refugee camp before 1995, then went and joined DKBA.  They were seen
in a village near Ban Sala camp both the day before and the day after the
attack.  People are not sure whether the men are still with DKBA or not.]

NAME:    "Saw Hai Kaw"      SEX: M     AGE: 30   Karen Christian shopkeeper
FAMILY:  Married, 4 children aged 2 to 6
ADDRESS: Ban Sala refugee camp, Thailand         INTERVIEWED: 4/6/96

["Saw Hai Kaw"'s shop in the camp was attacked with grenades and
looted in the DKBA attack on 26/5/96.  The camp is over 10 km. inside

I had only a little shop.  I don't know exactly what happened.  I didn't see
them and I didn't hear them speak.  When they came I was sleeping, as we
do every night in our house.  I was in my house [his shop is also his
house] when they threw the grenades but when they entered our house I
had already left.  I took my wife and my children and we ran away to the
other side of the stream [which runs behind his shop].  Nothing happened
to my wife and my children but my sister got wounded.  Her name is Taw
Oo.  She is 20 years old.

I had opened the door of the shop to run away and I had no time to close it,
so they were able to enter the shop easily.  They took cigarettes, orange
juices and 6 or 7 bottles of Sprite.  And also money,  3,000 Baht.  This
money was not mine.  Someone gave it to me and asked me to give it to
another person.  Before I gave it to him, I was keeping it in the front of
shop.  But they didn't know I had this money.  They only came to the camp
to loot everything they saw in the houses.

Now we still stay here, but my wife doesn't dare stay in the house.  Now I
am staying with her on the hill at the other side of the stream.  [They are
staying in someone else's house and their shop now lies empty and
abandoned.]  I don't think I can keep the shop.  I am going to sell the
leftover goods.  Now I don't know what to do next.


NAME:    "Saw Lah"         SEX: M     AGE: 23    Karen Christian medic
FAMILY:  Married, 1 child aged 20 days
ADDRESS: Sho Kloh refugee camp, Thailand         INTERVIEWED: 16/6/96

["Saw Lah" was a witness to the shelling of Sho Kloh refugee camp from
the Burma side of the border on 13 June 1996.  He is a medic in the
refugee camp hospital, and treated the victim who later died.]

Last Thursday on 13 June 1996, the shelling started at 6:10 p.m. exactly.
At the time I was in my house.  I heard the sound of a big bomb at the other
side [of the stream], on the hill.  I stayed in my house and a few moments
later there was another one on the streambank, and then again near the
hospital.  They shelled 3 mortars and also one near the monastery.  I heard
4 shells.  They were 81 mm mortars [other accounts suggest they were
actually 60mm mortars].  All of them exploded.  There was about a 5- or
6-minute interval between each of them.  All the people ran under their
houses and I also went under my house.  Everybody was afraid and stayed
under the houses.  The mortars fell near houses but didn't destroy any. Only
tree branches were cut down, but not the houses.

After the shelling people came to call me to go and see because they said
that 2 or 3 people were injured.  So I went to see.  I found the woman who
had a wound on the right side of her head [near her temple].  She was
bleeding a lot and she had lost consciousness.  There was another girl about
12 years old and she was injured on the right buttock.  Both were wounded
by shrapnel.  I found them on the streambank.   They had run down to the
streambank because there is a big rock there and a hole and they were going
to hide there.  They were running to the hole when the mortars fell down
there, right where they were going to hide.  They were not from the same
family.  The woman was 21 years old.  Only one piece of shrapnel hit her
on her head, here just behind the temple.  The piece went inside and maybe
her brain was also damaged.  At that time we gave her injections and we
took her to the hospital.  That night, we decided to refer her to a big
hospital but at that time nobody dared drive on the highway [the Mae Sot-
Mae Sariang road].  So we kept her one night and she didn't die.  In the
morning, at 6 or 7 a.m., we transferred her to Mae La [refugee camp].
That day, we heard that at 4 or 5 p.m. she died in the hospital there.  Her
name was Naw Mu Khee Po.  She was 21 years old.  She was married and
she had two children - the younger of her children is only 9 months old and
is still breastfed.  At the time when it happened, her husband had an
on his right leg so he was being treated in our IPD [in-patients'
department] where we had opened the abscess.  He went together with his
wife [to Mae La] but I don't know if he came back here or not.

Later that night we heard a lot of shelling but we don't know exactly, maybe
it was the Thai soldiers shelling and the DKBA also. But it was near the
highway [the highway runs north-south just to the west of the camp,
between the camp and the Moei River which forms the border.  The Thai
Army post is at the entrance to the camp from the highway].  The shelling
came from the other side [of the border] but maybe SLORC or maybe
DKBA, I don't know.  They shelled from Baw Pa Hta or Klaw Kway.  I
heard somebody saying that.  I don't know why they shelled.

Q:  Do you think they still want to scare the refugees to go back to Burma?
A:  Yes, maybe.  For a long time they have asked the refugees to go back.
But nobody wants to go back.  As for me, I don't want to go back, because
in Burma there are many problems.  If I have to go and stay there I will
have no job,  I will have nothing to eat and I will face a lot of problems.
Last year, they already came into the camp and shot.  They took many
goods and equipment in the IPD like our microscopes [in the 4/1/96 attack
- see related interview in this report].  They took a lot of things.  After
that it was quieter.  But this shelling was sudden.  Nobody expected that.
Now many people have started to be afraid again.  The Thai security asked us
to dig holes under our houses.  What they are going to do and what will
happen in the future, I don't know.


NAME:    "Saw Nyi Nyi"       SEX: M    AGE: 47        Karen Christian
FAMILY:  Married
ADDRESS: Sho Kloh refugee camp, Thailand              INTERVIEWED: 16/6/96

["Saw Nyi Nyi" was a camp security officer at Sho Kloh when the shelling

On Thursday June 13th I went to visit the Thai Army at around 6 p.m.
While I was speaking to them, I heard the mortar shells launched from the
other side of the river.  They launched 5 or 6 mortars in the Sho Kloh area.
There were about 5 or 6 minute intervals between each shell.  Later in the
night, they shelled more but outside the Sho Kloh area, maybe near the
main road.

They shelled from Baw Pa Hta area.  SLORC and DKBA are staying there.
The SLORC have two camps in that area, not far from each other and
some DKBA are around.  The SLORC troops are from Tactical Command
991.  Only a few soldiers are usually staying in Baw Pa Hta and their main
camp is in Kler Deh.  There are also about 10 DKBA soldiers led by Bo

Q:  Who shelled, DKBA or SLORC?
A:  Bo Kleh did the shelling but the shells are not Bo Kleh's shells, they
are from SLORC.  I saw a piece of one and it was given to the Thais.  They
were made in China.  They look like 81 mm but not really. They were 2-inch
mortars, like 60 mm.  The Thais could not identify them very well.
Maybe a new type of mortar shells.  But the Burmese used them.  Some
villagers who have been porters said that they have seen them before.

Q:  Did the Thai Army shoot back?
A:  Yes.  During the night, when the SLORC shelled again, the Thais
responded.  The second time they shelled, they didn't shell into Sho Kloh
but towards the main road instead.  They were trying to hit the Thai Army.

Q:  Why did they shell Sho Kloh camp?
A:  The next day I heard Bo Kleh on the walkie-talkie saying that he had
called the refugees to come to a ceremony at the Baw Pa Hta monastery
and that nobody came, so he got angry.  Before many people used to go
there, but since DKBA and SLORC occupied Baw Pa Hta nobody goes
there anymore.  But I don't believe this.  I am sure SLORC ordered him to
do it.  Bo Kleh is under SLORC command.  He couldn't do this if SLORC
didn't allow it.  SLORC always orders DKBA to do things like this, so that
their own name is not connected to these actions.  They were angry because
the KNU fought them at Pu Lu Hta.  [In May the KNLA attacked and
recaptured the DKBA/SLORC position at Pu Lu Hta, about 7 km. south of
Sho Kloh.]

Q:  What do you think will happen in the future?
A:  The Thai security troops say, "Don't be afraid.  We are increasing the
security on the border."  But the SLORC troops say, "The Thais don't want
to fight, so we will attack the border".  Before the shelling, some
reported to the camp here that the SLORC soldiers told them that there will
be fighting on the border.  The SLORC and also DKBA have increased
their troops on the border.  I think they want to come to destroy the
camp.  Now the people are very afraid.