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KHRG #96-31 (r)


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




                      Diary of a Sho Kloh Schoolteacher

[This is an excerpt from the diary of a schoolteacher in Sho Kloh refugee
camp running from 30 November 1995 through 2 February 1996.  It is
included here to show the nature and frequency of DKBA incursions on
the camp.  Population of the camp is about 10,000 refugees.]

Thursday 30.11.95:  Three men from Sho Kloh, Saw Maw Bee, Saw L---
and Khine N---, were granted permission from Noh Bo village to cross to
Pu Lu Hta, on Burma side.  Their reason for going to meet with DKBA
appears to have been to discuss with the DKBA regional leader Tha Htwe
about Sho Kloh's safety and security, safety of relatives inside Burma and
unresolved conflicts from KNU's past when Tha Htwe was a soldier under
Lt. Maw Bee's command.  Their visit resulted in Maw Bee (Karen,
Buddhist) being killed and his body thrown into the river.  L--- (Karen
Christian, mechanic) was forced to remain in Burma to work for DKBA
repairing boat engines.  Khine N--- (Arakanese Buddhist, Sho Kloh camp
health committee officer) was released to return across the border.  Since
then, L---'s wife was given permission to visit him and after seeing him was
allowed to return to Sho Kloh with threatening messages for the refugees.
[Note: L--- later escaped.]

Saturday 2.12.95:  At about 8 p.m., 40 DKBA intruded into Section 1.  It
was reported that they were seeking guns and walkie-talkies [according to
closer witnesses, they were only looting].  Saw Wah (Karen Christian,
civilian) was killed.  Three people, Plo Wah of camp security (Karen
Buddhist, civilian but ex-KNU soldier), Pa K--- (Karen Buddhist, civilian)
and Aung Nyunt (Karen Buddhist, civilian) were arrested and taken to
Burma.  Plo Wah was later killed and his body found in the Moei river,
Aung Nyunt is still apparently being kept there and Pa K--- escaped and
returned across the border.

At about 8:45 p.m., the DKBA group continued to the camp security
leader's house in Section 2.  He is a Karen Christian civilian but was not
sleeping at home.  2,000 Baht were taken from the camp security fund and
4,000 Baht from his personal savings.  Earrings, a necklace and a wedding
ring were also taken.  At about 9 p.m., the same group proceeded to a shop
opposite the No. 1 Primary school in Section 2.  The shop was looted of a
stereo cassette system and many consumer goods.

Sunday 3.12.95:  At about 8:30 p.m., there was a short exchange of
gunfire for one minute between Thai Army and DKBA in the jungle near
Section 2 and Section 7.  Casualties unknown.

Tuesday 5.12.95:  A Thai-Karen village in Ukwe district was reportedly
robbed of 200,000 Baht.

Thursday 7.12.95:  The Thai Army shot one burst of automatic fire into
the air in Section 1 at 8 p.m. without warning any camp residents.  The
rumours were that unknown people were moving in the jungle and once
again, the refugees had a sleepless night in fear of an attack.

Tuesday 12.12.95:  Two DKBA soldiers in possession of 3 guns and a
walkie-talkie were found by Sho Kloh villagers sleeping in the jungle near
Section 1.  They were handed over to the Thai Army but what the Thai
Army did with them is unknown.  It is unsure whether there was a third
member to account for the third gun.

A person who returned from the DKBA camp opposite Sho Kloh was told
by DKBA that any refugees found inside their houses will be treated as
enemies.  When DKBA come and search for particular people [i.e. camp
leaders], they also intrude into or guard the surrounding houses.  They
guard the refugees in these houses in order to prevent them from alarming
the camp security.  So more civilians are coming under threat.  Many
refugees are sleeping in the jungle in fear of being targeted by DKBA and
people have hidden much of their clothing and valuable belongings in safer

The situation of the refugees is extremely tense as fear of intrusion comes
every night.  It only takes a dog to bark or any other noise in the evening
or the night to make the camp residents anxious and petrified.  The
psychological pressure on the refugees is enormous but still a large number
of them are affirming a strong desire to stay in the camp as opposed to
returning to Burma or moving to Beh Klaw [another refugee camp, also
under threat].  They consider that these alternatives would be even more
dangerous or problematic in other ways.

Tuesday 26.12.95:  At 2 a.m., 2 groups of DKBA entered and targeted
Section 7 market.  One group came through the bushes near the rice store,
then down past the SDA church in Section 7.  The other group entered Sho
Kloh through the bushes at the other side of the river before crossing to
Section 7.  Seven shops were robbed of goods.  It was reported that there
were about 20 or 30 DKBA soldiers in total.  This includes a few women
who were seen with the group acting as porters.  A man and his son were
shot at although not seriously injured. 6,800 Baht were reported stolen from
the mosque, 48,000 Baht in cash from one shop, 9 baht-weight of gold
from another valued at 4,800 Baht per weight, jewellery, clothes and food.
Looting reportedly continued for 15 minutes after the first gunshots were
fired and before DKBA left via a main path leading under the bridge of the
Mae Sot-Mae Sariang road towards the Moei river.  Despite the noise of
the gunfire and voices, neither the Thai Rangers [paramilitary regulars]
nor the Thai Regular Army appeared in Section 7 market until daylight the
next morning.

Thursday 4.1.96:  At about 12:30 a.m., 3 groups of DKBA estimated to
number over 40 entered the camp.  One group came through Section 5,
split over the foot bridge to Section 4, robbed the MSF [Medecins Sans
Frontieres] hospital of 3 microscopes, continued to the malaria research
unit compound and stole the long range CB radio from Dr. xxxx's house.
At this stage, a grenade exploded in response to the DKBA group coming
from Section 6.  The contingent robbing the hospital retreated.  The
grenade was thrown by the Thai Rangers at this group just past Section 5
on the way back to Section 7.  But no one is believed to have been injured.
A second group entered through Section 6, walked along towards the
Sections 3 and 4 market.  Near the video house, at the T junction of the
market and the main path to Section 6, this group was met by a grenade
from the Thai Rangers.  Two DKBA were killed and four injured before
the DKBA retreated without further incidents.  A third group approached
the camp through Section 1 [which is now abandoned, as it is closest to
the border] but retreated before initiating any action when they heard the
gunfire and explosions.

Sunday 14.1.96:  At 5:30 p.m., a landmine exploded in the forest near the
monastery in Section 3 but it is unknown what triggered the blast.  At
around 7 p.m., there was a short burst of gunfire from camp security on the
northern side of Sho Kloh river opposite Section 7, where unidentified
people were seen walking through the bushes guided by a covered torch.

Monday 15.1.96:  At 8 p.m., two landmines exploded in the same area as
the previous night in the bushes behind the monastery in Section 3.  Thai
Rangers fired into that area on 3 occasions within the next hour but didn't
make any positive identification of anyone.

Thurday 25.1.96:  Two DKBA soldiers were arrested by Thai Rangers
during the day in the bushes beyond Section 1.

Friday 2.2.96:  Notice was given by the Thai Army that all refugees in
Sections 1 and 7 needed to move further inside [from the main road] to the
other sections from where retreat would be a longer process for DKBA.
Everyone must move before 10.2.1996.  With improved security, refugees
are feeling that it would be more difficult for a large group of DKBA to
intrude into Sho Kloh camp.  But they are fearing that a small group could
get in and burn down the houses during this dry season.  [Many refugees
had already abandoned Section 1 on their own, as it is at the front of the
camp at the main road, the first point of contact for DKBA troops coming
directly from the border.  This section of the camp now lies abandoned,
and it is a 20 minute walk from the main road to the occupied part of the
camp.  After this period, camp security was improved somewhat and the
attacks let up, until 16 June 1996 when the centre of the camp was
attacked with mortars fired from the Burma side of the border, killing one
woman and injuring a child (see related interviews in this report).  As a
result of the shelling, Sho Kloh camp residents are again living in fear and
the atmosphere in the camp is very tense.]

                 Some other incidents in camps/villages

The following list gives summaries of a few other attacks not included in
the report, mainly against Thai targets.  It should be taken in combination
with the contents of the 7 May Bangkok Post article affixed to the end of
this report, which provides a further list of incidents.  Neither of these
lists is complete, but should only be seen as a representative sampling.

6.10.95 - Sho Kloh:  Section 1 leader of Sho Kloh camp, Saw Ka Ter Per,
was killed by DKBA.  [He was section leader for 2 years].  DKBA troops
came directly to his house at around 10 p.m. and shot him dead.  A
neighbour, a young man aged 20 [name not obtained], was shot too for
being there.

25.12.95 - Thai Karen Village:  At least 10 armed DKBA plundered one
shop at Wang Ta Khian village in Tambon Tha Sai Luad.  The shopkeeper
was hit by a bullet in his head and was robbed of his Thai ID card, 700
Baht and 8,000 Kyats in cash, a crate of whisky and 5 chickens.

27.12.95 - Thai Karen Village:   At 8.30 p.m., a group of about 30
DKBA plundered Tee Nor Koh village, 95 km. north of Mae Sot on the
Mae Sot-Mae Sariang road.  An 8-year old girl, Suda Panyasupatho, ran
out of her house, was shot in the neck and died.  Her father, 53, was shot
the shoulder and her elder brother was held hostage.  They took 12 baht-
weight of gold and other valuables worth 100,000 Baht from 3 houses.

11.1.96  - Beh Klaw refugee camp:  At approximately 1:30 a.m., about 30
DKBA troops entered the area of Beh Klaw refugee camp, went to a house
just outside the camp perimeter and murdered a retired KNU general,
General Taru, 70 years old.  He had a stroke about 7 years ago and was
barely able to walk again.  The DKBA entered the room in which he was
sleeping with his wife, dragged both of them out then shot him in the chest
killing him instantly.  Others in the house were held at gunpoint but were
left unharmed.

Between 20 and 29.1.96 - Kamaw Lay Ko Thai Karen Village:  One
Karen refugee was arrested by DKBA but was later released.

30.1.96 - Mae U Su Thai Karen Village:  100 DKBA troops attacked the
monastery at Mae U Su, killing one monk, one villager and a Thai
policeman [see interview in this report].

10.2.96 - Mae Wih Kloh camp:  250 DKBA soldiers along with 150
porters invaded Mae Wih Kloh camp.  Four porters who were ordered to
clear the way of landmines got wounded stepping on landmines or in the

7.4.96 - Mae Sot:  A 30-year old Dutch doctor and his spouse working at a
medical unit in a Karen refugee camp were having a weekend bicycle ride
along the Moei river near the Thai town of Mae Sot.  At 11 a.m.,  on their
way back, five men stopped them at a place opposite a SLORC military
camp, Yebu, 4 km. north of the Burmese town of Mywaddy and 7 km.
west of Mae Sot.  They were robbed and the lady doctor was raped by 2 of
the men while her husband was held at pistol point.  The intruders, thought
to be SLORC soldiers from Yebu camp, took with them two mountain
bikes, two watches, one pair of earrings and 1,500 Baht robbed from the
foreign doctors.  They even took their sandals leaving them barefoot.

The victims added: "The language they spoke didn't sound Thai or Karen to
us.  Their complexions were dark brown [i.e. more likely Burman than
Karen or Thai], and they were wearing normal clothes (no military clothing).
The leader of the five carried an alarm pistol.  Another one had a
green hand grenade with smooth surface [a Chinese grenade] and also a
machete".  [After the incident the Thai authorities claimed to have raised
the issue with the SLORC commander of the area and claimed they had
received assurances that the perpetrators were being sought and would be
punished.  This is extremely unlikely; moreover, it is quite likely that the
Thai authorities never even raised the question for fear of angering the
Burmese at a time when Thai businessmen in the area are desperate for
SLORC to allow the Mae Sot-Myawaddy cross-border "Friendship
Bridge" to open.  The bridge has been complete for one year, but is still
closed and blockaded by SLORC.]

25.4.96 - Thai Karen Village:  15 DKBA with assault rifles and grenades
robbed a headman and five villagers of goods worth 40,000 Baht in Tha
Song Yang.  They forced two villagers to carry some of their loot to the

DKBA raided Ban Panorti, Tambon Mae La, at 3 a.m. and took 19,000
baht and valuables worth 23,000 Baht from headman Chaepho Dikarawa,
Su Kana, Kham-mai Khamchan and two men identified as Mr Jakhee and
Mr Musao.  The last two were forced to carry sacks of  rice and preserved
food for the DKBA troops.

Thai and Thai-Karen villagers in Tha Song Yang have complained that
security officials cannot protect them from the renegades.  As night falls,
children, women and the elderly leave the villages and return in the

[For a further list of cross-border attacks against primarily Thai targets,
see the 7 May article from the Bangkok Post affixed to the end of this

[Note: the Bangkok Post article and a map showing attack locations are
included with the printed version of this report, but are omitted here.
The article quotes Thai Army sources as listing 43 cross-border attacks
resulting in 14 deaths over the 6-month period from December 1995 to
May 1996.  The list ignores most of the attacks against refugees, focussing
instead on attacks against Thai citizens.]

                             - [END OF REPORT] -