[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
KHRG #96-32, part 2/2 (fwd)
SLORC & DKBA IN PAPUN DISTRICT
An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group
August 3, 1996 / KHRG #96-32
* PART 2 OF 2 - SEE PREVIOUS POSTING FOR PART 1 OF THIS REPORT *
- SOME DETAILS OMITTED OR REPLACED BY 'XXXX' FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION -
NAME: "Saw Po Ghay" SEX: M AGE: 40 Karen Christian farmer
FAMILY: Widower, 3 children aged 3, 8, and 10
ADDRESS: XXXX village, Bu Tho township, Papun Dist. INTERVIEWED: 9/6/96
I arrived here about one month ago. The Burmese always used to come to
our village. If they ordered us to do work, we only had to do it for a
time. They came together with DKBA, the DKBA soldiers go in front of
them. It was #77 Battalion [of SLORC], but I don't know if that is IB or
LIB. I dare not look at them. I left my village because the Ko Per Baw
ordered me to work, to carry rice for the Burmese. Often I had to carry
the food for Burmese soldiers from Kaw Pu Toe to Kyauk Nyat. The
Burmese ask the DKBA, then the DKBA order it. We had to carry rice for
the Burmese and for DKBA. It took us two to three weeks each time. My
wife is dead and I have my 3 young children with me. No one was looking
after them. I also felt very sad for them. I had no time to work for
It was too difficult for me. I also did not have enough rice at home,
because last year when DKBA was formed, I didn't plant the paddy in my
field. I planted the paddy on the hill and it was destroyed by insects.
was afraid his usual field would be destroyed so he hacked out a new field
high on the hills where he thought it would be safe.]
First they [DKBA] forced us to Khaw Taw. They forced us to move in
March last year. They ordered that all villagers in every village must move
to Khaw Taw. They threatened us: "If you don't move, we will kill you like
mushrooms". But I decided to stay. I decided that only if all the
moved to Khaw Taw, then I would move too. But even if only 3 houses were
left in the village, I decided that I would stay. In my village there were
10 houses and 8 families moved to Khaw Taw. They were all Buddhists.
Only my brother and I were left in the village. I refused to move because
Buddhism is not my religion. But Ko Per Baw then ordered us to move to
the new place. They came with guns and forced us to move. I took my
We had to go and stay at the new village. They call that place Ku Mu Per
['cool pleasant place']. It is 3 hours' walk away from my village. They
didn't want the villagers to stay separately in our own villages. There
60 houses in the new village when I moved there. The 60 families came
from different villages. They were Christians, Buddhists, Shan and
Animists. But among these 60 families, some have now moved to Khaw
Taw because they had to do a lot of work staying in Ku Mu Per. They said
if they stay in Khaw Taw there would be no problem for them. They
would not have to carry loads and they could get food rations for each
month. But in Ku Mu Per, we had only 5 days in a month left to do our
own work. The Burmese didn't ask us, but they give orders to DKBA and
DKBA orders us to do the work.
The new village is near a Burmese camp and also a DKBA camp. The
DKBA and Burmese stay separately. There were about 30 soldiers in the
DKBA camp, and they quite often come to the new village. In the new
village, they never gave us rice. If we had food, we had to give some to
them. We brought our own food to the new village. We can do farming
there but if we do farming the wild bears and the wild pigs will destroy all
our paddy. Before we used to kill the wild pigs and the wild bears but now
DKBA doesn't allow us to have a gun. So now even if you do farming, you
can't get any paddy because the bears and the wild pigs will destroy the
They don't allow us to go to our village [to farm]. They only allow us to
go and do farming near the new village. They are afraid [that we will run
away]. We can say that they are afraid, and also that they force us to do
their work. We have to go every day for their work. At least 1 or 2 people
have to go. We have to carry their food, work on the road and we also
have to dig holes for them. And we have to carry so many times. I haven't
noted it down but I had to go at least 10 times in one month. Sometimes
for 1 or 2 days, sometimes 3 or 4 days and sometimes the whole month.
We had to work on road construction, on bridge and dam projects and we
had to do sentry duty on the roads. They were afraid that the KNU troops
would put landmines around there. The other work is to carry loads for
them. We were working on the Ma Htaw-Papun road, the old road used by
the military. We had to build fences all along the way. At Papun, Koh Chit
and Ma Htaw, only one group of us and we had to complete the whole
fence. I had to clear the place and cut down trees vigorously. We also had
to work in their camp. We had to build their houses, dig latrines and we had
to build quarters for the wives and the children of the soldiers who died in
Q: Do DKBA recruit soldiers in the new village?
A: No, it is up to the people themselves. If people are willing to join
DKBA, they can join. Before they also got paid but now they give no
salary [the salaries were provided by SLORC but have been cut off]. They
receive food from SLORC. Now some people who joined DKBA before
don't want to continue doing it anymore. The DKBA officers were given
300 Kyats per month. Now they can no longer pay the soldiers. Some of
them deserted. In the DKBA camp, three of them ran away but I don't
know their names. Their officers are doing errands for the SLORC and are
still paid 300 Kyats per month.
[In the new village] there is a school and also a monastery. The teachers
were chosen by them [DKBA]. They came from other villages and they
graduated in Burma. Their names are Way Mu, Way Hsa and Ku Teh.
They are Shans. Their villages are quite far away. They teach in Burmese
and in English. They do not teach in Karen. We had to pay school fees.
We had to pay 150 Kyats for each student. If they ask for rice, it is 3
[5-6 kg. each time]. The price of books comes separately, and we parents
have to give them that too. If we say that those teachers made money, we
would be saying the truth. The school is up to 4th Standard but the
teaching did not materialise last year. I put my child in the school there,
in the kindergarten. But my child hardly attended the school for one year
[it was never open] and all the schoolchildren disappeared. Those teachers
disappeared at the end of the year. They are under SLORC orders or under
DKBA orders. Once they received their pay, they went back to their
Before, the military had their hospital near the riverbank, but they were
afraid that the insurgents would attack them there, so they shifted that
hospital to Hmat Hto and there was no doctor. If we are sick we have to go
to the SLORC battalion headquarters.
Q: Did SLORC or DKBA tax or extract money from the villagers?
A: SLORC did not do that but the DKBA do. We had to pay a human
tax, 10 Kyats for the children, 80 Kyats for those up to 40 years old, and
above 40 they levy 25 Kyats. There is no tax on our farmland.
Now only 10 households are left there [at Ku Mu Per]. DKBA did not like
the idea of the villagers moving out but the villagers insisted. We were
never free of doing their work. When they ordered us to do it, we could
not refuse. They forbade us to move. They said that if we move about, we
would be hit by stray bullets when there is fighting [a veiled threat that
they may be shot on sight if they leave]. They never told us that they
kill us. In Ku Mu Per they often fired off their guns at 6 p.m. They fired
at random. They told us that there are 'white' people around us [the
is unclear, but it was clearly said simply to frighten them with the
Those who are unable to move are still living there. Those who have to
stay and suffer, they want to come up here [to the refugee camp]. Many
of them. I did not let them know that I would come here. I told them that
was sending my son to Papun. I travelled to Papun. In Papun, I heard that
my younger brother was here, so I came to this place.
Sure it is easier for me here. I do not have to go here and there any
When I was there I had to worry all the time. It is not easy when your
children are sick, and when you are among the Burmese there is a language
barrier. I cannot speak Burmese very well. The DKBA do not give us any
medical supplies. We have to go and ask them from the Burmese.
SLORC and DKBA troops are the same. All of them are evil. There are
none that are good. I don't think DKBA will get stronger. Some are
I think that they will turn back to the other side. They also said to each
other that they have to suffer greatly too. It is well for them - they ate
the salt of the Burmese before they knew what the Burmese really are.
Now when they really know the true colour of the Burmese they cannot
bear the brunt of it.
NAME: "Naw Paw Htoo" SEX: F AGE: 31 Karen Christian farmer
FAMILY: Married, 5 children but 4 already died and only one left living
ADDRESS: XXXX village, Papun District INTERVIEWED: 4/6/96
["Naw Paw Htoo" left her village and has been living in YYYY
village for the last year.]
Q: How did your children die?
A: They were all sick and died. Two of them were twins and they also
died, just one month before I left. They were over 2 years old. I left
people were starting to prepare their fields [at the beginning of May]. My
older child died when he was only 10 days old and the youngest one was
coughing and couldn't breathe and then he died when he was 4 months old.
When the twins died, I was staying in YYYY village. I had been there
for one year and then this problem happened.
I am Karen. Before, I was Buddhist. Now I became Christian and my
husband is Christian. I am from XXXX village. To go to YYYY
from there, we women have to walk and sleep one night on the way,
but men are able to walk in one day.
We arrived here [the refugee camp] one month ago. We left because my
husband was not able to stay there. They ask for so many porters to carry
for them. Now we are only 3 people in our family. Also my husband has
one broken hand, and no money to pay someone to replace him. So we
had to leave. He broke his hand because his brother-in-law cut him with a
Q: Have you been to Khaw Taw?
A: I have never been there. My husband didn't even allow me to go to my
own village, XXXX. My mother is in XXXX village. It
is near Ka Ma Maung, only one day's walk. But my husband told me that
the SLORC troops will kill me if something happens on the way to XXXX.
He never allowed me to go right up until now. He also never
went to Khaw Taw.
YYYY has about 100 houses. The SLORC camp is in Taw Thay
Loh, not nearby. I have never been there but people told me that you have
to walk from early morning until the afternoon. SLORC troops always
come to the village and DKBA too. DKBA are the most angry. One thing
we are not happy with is that in Theh Ko Ree Baw village, they said to the
villagers: "You are Christian, you are Christian, and you ..." [pointing out
the Christians in order to intimidate them.] So we are not happy with
that. Sometimes they come together with SLORC, sometimes Ko Per Baw
come on their own. Ko Per Baw come more often than SLORC troops.
Sometimes they are followed by SLORC troops. If SLORC troops stop
travelling in Pwee Taw Roh village, the Ko Per Baw come on their own to
YYYY. Sometimes 2 or 3 Ko Per Baw come on their own to the
village. They just come and visit the village, but when SLORC come they
take or ask food from the villagers. When SLORC come they order us to
go for labour and to do work for them. Sometimes they ask for pigs and
goats and if we have any, we have to give them. If we don't, then we must
try our best to arrange everything for them by the fixed time. Because if
the people can't arrange it they come themselves, arrest people and catch
the pigs and the animals and eat them. For labour, it is the same. If the
people don't go, they come and arrest people and take them as porters or
for labour, whatever they want. If you have money you can pay, but
people who stay there have no way to find money, they don't even dare
travel around villages.
Since we moved to YYYY, my husband has never had to be a porter.
But this year SLORC ordered him once to guard the road for 3 days, all
day and all night. He had to build a fence along the road. He couldn't do
anything [because of his broken hand], but he had to chop and split the
bamboo for the fence. It is quite far [to the road labour], in the
of Taw Thay Loh. For a man it is about 2 hours' walk. It is on the road
from Ka Ma Maung to Papun town. I don't think cars can travel on it now
because it has started raining. They use this road only in summer. They
rebuild the road every year and change the place, but it is always near the
old road.. When we were in YYYY, if my husband was able to go he
went for the labour. Sometimes he couldn't go, because he had a weakness
in his body [so they had to hire someone to go].
No one was arrested by SLORC in YYYY village, but they arrested
one person from Baw Thay Hta village. He was there visiting. SLORC
suspected that he was a KNU soldier and tortured him a lot. But he was
insane [actually mentally disabled]. The SLORC took him to Taw Thay
Loh and the headman had to speak for him that he was mentally disabled
and a civilian. His name is Pah Leh Wah, about 24 or 25 years old.
When DKBA was formed, they ordered us to move to Khaw Taw. They
threatened us: "If you don't move, the monk will burn the candle and all the
people who didn't move will decay like mushrooms". They also said that
the Christians are very headstrong and never obey what they say. They
said, "Baw Thay Hta village is hot chillie [meaning people in that village
do not obey, so they may face a hot situation] but for the people who are
staying in Pweh Nay Ko area the chillies aren't hot, they are obeying us."
This is because the people who were living in Pweh Nay Ko moved to
Khaw Taw but the people from Baw Thay Hta and YYYY didn't.
Most of the villages like Pwee Taw Roh village and its neighbouring villages
moved to Khaw Taw, but I can't name them all, I only know some.
Nothing happened to us because we had already told them boldly that we
were not moving. We said, "If you want to kill all our villagers, you are
welcome to kill us in the church and we will all die together." No one in
our village joined DKBA.
People who don't want to suffer SLORC anymore fled. Another family
came along with us. Altogether 3 families from YYYY village
moved to Thailand. It was not easy to come. We knew that both SLORC
and DKBA would try to stop us, so we had to come secretly. If they knew
they would kill us. We had to run when we crossed the car road, and we
had to climb up and down the mountains. It took us 11 days.
My husband planned to find a job but unfortunately he got arrested by the
Thai police about 2 weeks ago. Now he is staying in Mae Sariang jail. I
don't understand about this and I don't know how long he will have to stay
there. But he should come back here.
NAME: "Saw Ler Htoo" SEX: M AGE: 19 Karen logging worker
FAMILY: Single, 4 brothers and 4 sisters
ADDRESS: xxxx village, Papun District INTERVIEWED: 14/5/96
["Saw Ler Htoo" works as a logging labourer and also as a soldier for
When they came into XXXX village 3 weeks ago they shot dead one villager
and one soldier. As for the villager, I didn't see it but later I saw the
house - so many bullets had hit the house that part of the house was broken
down. They hit Paw Lu with 3 bullets, and I think they shot Htein Nyunt
Pa [the soldier] with more than 10 bullets - his intestines came out of his
body. Paw Lu was about 30 and single, from Kyu Kee village. They were
shot by Kyaw Oo. They told us they are IB 19. Their leader is Aung
Thein Win, the Corporal is Thein Lwin and the Sergeant is Aung Kyi.
There were 30 soldiers that came into the village, and 20 more on the hill
protect them. I don't know what date it was, but it was a Tuesday in early
summer [other sources confirm it was 23 April].
While they were in the village they ate 2 goats and 2 chickens that belonged
to the villagers, and they looted people's wine, clothing and money. They
stayed 2 hours in the village and then they went away up the hill. They
went to Kyu Kee, then on to Kaw Hta and Pa Hee Kyo [there is an army
camp at Pa Hee Kyo]. The villagers went back to their houses and then
dug holes to bury the two men, and by that time it was already dark.
Later they came back to the village. They came and ordered us, "Put up
your hands", so we did, and they tied me up along with "Saw Wah" [not
his real name]. He is also about 19 years old. They asked me something
in Burmese but I didn't say anything, and then they pointed a gun at me.
I kept quiet but my friend started talking. They hit me twice with the gun.
I started to speak, just one word, and the officer said to me, "You can
Burmese, you must speak!"
They took us to carry their things and kept us for days. The first night
only tied my legs, but after that they kept me in stocks [mediaeval-style
wooden leg stocks] at night, so I couldn't sleep. They tortured me 20 times
per day. They hung me up like an aeroplane, hanging by my hands and my
feet couldn't touch the ground, and punched my cheeks, and when I
coughed blood came out of my mouth. The man who tortured me was
Shan, but there was also another man who punched me twice when he was
ordered to take me into the valley and kill me. He was Arakanese. But
then the Captain said, "Don't kill him, we haven't got the order to kill him
yet". Once the Captain came down to me and asked, "Do you dare to die?"
I said, "No, I'm afraid to die", and he left. Then the Shan man came and
tortured me again, and I told him, "Now I'm not afraid, I dare to die, you
can kill me." He said, "We won't kill you, we want to torture you, that's
all." Then he started beating me with a bamboo until the bamboo was
They asked me so many things about ABSDF [All-Burma Students'
Democratic Front, the main Burmese students' army] leaders' names and
KNU leaders' names, but I didn't say anything, I told him I just joined the
[KNU] forestry department for 1 year and that was a very long time ago. I
don't know the leaders' names. Now I'm just doing timber work, I don't
know about the Revolution. He threatened my friend ["Saw Wah"] and
said he was lying, and he said to me, "I'll bring your friend's head to show
you, and I'll kill you later". Every day they told me, "We will kill you".
"Saw Wah" cannot speak Burmese, so they mostly asked me and beat me.
We ["Saw Wah" and himself] also had to go to Meh Kameh Hta to carry
weapons for them. We ate breakfast in Pa Hee Kyo, then we had to carry
the weapons to Meh Kameh Hta, where we met another group of soldiers
and gave the weapons to them. Then they went back to their Pa Hee Kyo
camp and our group went to Plaw Hta and slept there, then we left Plaw
Hta at 5 a.m. and went to Pa Hee Kyo. They kept us there for a day, then
they made us carry again. I had to carry about 20 viss [32 kg.]. "Saw
Wah" had to carry a load even heavier than mine. We went to Meh Ka
Hta, then the next day we went to Kyauk Nyat Kloh, where they shot 3 of
the people's goats and ate them. Then we went to Par Haik, and the next
day we climbed the mountain and arrived in Pa Hee Kyo at around 6 p.m.
After several days carrying they released me. Their leader Aung Kyi told
me, "Tomorrow, of you and your friend I will release only one." The next
day he came and released me. They gave me 2 punches when they released
me. He made 5 soldiers take me down to the riverside, and I cut down two
bamboos and used them to swim across the river. They just watched me go
as I floated down the river. They sent a letter with me demanding 100
soldiers' uniforms, shampoo, underwear and a watchstrap [from the KNU;
rank-and-file SLORC soldiers never receive new uniforms] and said my
friend wouldn't be released until it was sent. [It is almost unheard of for
SLORC troops not to execute prisoners they know to be KNU soldiers, and
"Saw Ler Htoo" was caught with a gun and a radio; in this case, it is
clear that the only reason he is still alive is that they are desperate for
uniforms and other supplies and see this as the only way to get them.]
The soldiers used to be based in Papun. Their new base is in Kyauk Nyat
[at the Salween River / Thai border, an area they captured from the KNU
in early 1995], but they're moving to Oo Thu Hta village where they're
doing timber work. They are IB 19, Company #2. They told me "We
came as one division [10 Battalions] of soldiers". Their plan is to destroy
all the ABSDF soldiers. They asked me all the places where people do
farming and keep their rice supplies, and they asked me where the refugee
camps are. They said their Operations Commander ordered them to check
every village and arrest all the KNU soldiers. There was no one who joined
KNU in our village. The Burmese just wanted to give trouble to the
villagers. They said "We'll burn all the rice supplies we find, but we
burn down the houses". They robbed blankets, and the Karen women's
long dresses. In the villages they take baths in people's houses, they make
the people carry the water for them. They take people's drinking water
containers. They take all the new clothes - there are no new clothes left
all the villages. In one house in the village there were 900 Kyats and 3
pairs of clothes in the clothes box. They broke the box and took everything
inside. They take the new plates and leave only the old plates. They shot
dead goats and chickens of the villagers. When we were with them we
didn't want to eat the food they stole from the villagers, but we had to.
- [END OF REPORT] -