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KHRG Report 97-11, part 2/2

KHRG #97-11 Part 2/2 (Dooplaya)


     Forced relocation and abuses in newly SLORC-occupied area

       An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group
             September 18, 1997     /     KHRG #97-11


[Some details omitted or replaced by 'xxxx' for Internet distribution]
NAME:    "Pa Noh"           SEX: M    AGE: 45    Pwo Karen Christian
FAMILY:  Married, 6 children
ADDRESS: xxxx village, Kya In township           INTERVIEWED: 8/97

["Pa Noh" fled his village after being arrested and badly beaten by 
SLORC troops.]

One month ago I arrived at the Thai border.  I left because the Burmese 
came to my village and arrested people.  They called us and interrogated us 
about guns.  We don't have guns but they said we have.  They beat us often.
I was detained for 4 [sic: 3] months, from the time when they arrived in Saw
Kee and Saw Hta [a.k.a. Azin] until #44 [Division] left our village.

Q:  Were you a porter?
A:  No, I wasn't.  They arrested me and interrogated me about the guns and 
tortured me.  They punched me, beat me and hit me with a gun butt. They 
tortured me up to the point that four times I became unconscious. They 
accused me of having contact with Kaw Thoo Lei.  They told me: "If you 
stay in this area, then Kaw Thoo Lei is here too." 

Q:  Are you the headman?
A:  No, I am not, they have a Burmese headman.

Q:  When did they arrest you?
A:  During the month of the Water Festival [in April], I was in Plaw Toh 
Kee and Tee Klee Thu area.  They captured me at Plaw Toh Kee.  They have
established a new strategic camp there.   They beat me, they stomped 
on my chest with their boots and hit me with a gun barrel.  They accused 
me of having a gun, but I've never had any gun.  Then they said that I was a 
traitor and that everything that goes wrong in the country is my fault.  They 
said I was the one who wouldn't allow the civilians to come back [from 
hiding and from the refugee camps, to live under SLORC].  The Burmese 
ordered me to go around with them.  They ordered me to follow them and 
tied my hands.  Just me alone.  They kept me for more than one month.  
They didn't torture me every day, just once a week or so, but then they did 
it so badly that I became unconscious.  They slapped and beat me many 
times, four [sic: 5] times they beat me unconscious.  The first time I went 
unconscious was in Khaw Gheh when I was walking along with them.  At 
Meh Ker Kee once, Plaw Toh Kee once, Ivo once, and Paw Ner Mu once.  
The first time they tortured me, they hit me with a gun barrel and they 
kicked me with their boots and they hit my head.  They punched me on my 
ear and it was broken.  For 3 days when I was passing urine it was only 
blood, and when I passed stools it was also blood.  I thought I would die.  I 
will show you the scars.  This one is from punching.  On my head there are 
many scars.  They also rolled a bamboo pole over my shins.  They ordered 
me to stretch out my legs, they put the bamboo over my shins and two 
soldiers on each side of me rolled it very heavily.

They didn't keep me at any one place, they ordered me to follow them.  
When they arrived in a village they stayed there for 2 or 3 days and they 
tied me up.  Sometimes in 3 days they only gave me one meal.

They dug a hole in the ground 4 plah x 5 plah, like a bunker [1 plah (elbow 
to fingertip) is about 1 1/2 feet].  They have only one hole to put people in.  
They wanted to dig a hole of around 8 plah depth but they met with rocks 
at the bottom, so they couldn't get deeper than 5 plah.  Then they put the 
excavated ground around the top and made it 6 plah deep.  They put logs 
on the top of the hole and left only one gap to get in.  I had to grab the 
soldier's hand [to climb down inside].  I couldn't stand up inside [he was 
forbidden].  They put me in there and then covered the opening with a 
plastic sheet so I couldn't breathe inside.  They put me in that hole once, for 
the whole day.  After that, I couldn't see properly.  When the opening was 
covered, it was hard for me to breathe.  I could sit and lie down but I had to 
stay inside breathing little by little, slowly.  

I know the name of those who tortured me: xxxx and yyyy from #44 Division.
The Battalion Commander above them is named xxxx and he is Arakanese.  They
finally released me when #44 left the area.  Then I dared not stay in my
village because they had said: "We won't release you! We interrogated you
and we got nothing out of you.  So I will hand you over to the other army
troops."  Then 2 new Battalions came and they surrounded my house to arrest
me.  So I dared not stay.  And a third group arrived around my house too.

Q:  Did they torture anyone else in your village?
A:  K--- was also tortured.  He is 30 years old.  They tied K---'s wrists 
behind his back and put a bamboo pole through under his two arms like 
this, and they hung him on a tree like that.  Then they kicked him and one 
of his arms went loose [they disjointed his shoulder].  It happened in the 
cattle corral.  He was tortured for one day and then they released him.  He 
couldn't hold anything in his hands anymore.  Now he still stays at xxxx but 
not in the village, in the forest.

Q:  Did the soldiers kill anyone?  What else did they do?
A:  They didn't kill anyone but they tortured many people like this. 
Moreover, the villagers have to go and carry things for them.  Our xxxx 
village has 80 houses.  Eight persons each day have to work for the 
Burmese as porters.  One person has to carry three big tins of rice [50 
kg./110 lb.] and we have to take our own rice to eat.  On top of that, they 
also take machetes and other things like coconuts from us.  They eat them 
or destroy them.  They arrive in the village and they eat whatever they want, 
like our rice.   They didn't take all of our rice but they took some for 
themselves to eat. 

I came here with all of my family.  If I left them there the Burmese would 
come and arrest them.  They are staying here now.  I will stay and see the 
NAME:    "Saw Lah Po"      SEX: M    AGE: 19     Karen Christian farmer
FAMILY:  Married, no children
ADDRESS: xxxx village, Kya In township           INTERVIEWED: 8/97

[When interviewed, "Saw Lah Po" had scars from torture, as did his brother
and his uncle.]

I arrived here one month ago.  I dared not stay because they said, "If I see 
you again, I will not allow you to say one word and I will torture you again."

Q:  What did the SLORC do to you?
A:  We ran away from them and we thought that they would not come 
again.  But then in April I met them beside my house in xxxx.  They didn't 
ask any questions, they just started at once to tie our hands.  They took me 
to Kru M'Tee monastery.  They have a camp in Kru M'Tee.  They pushed 
me with their gun barrels and hit my back with gun butts.  They beat me on 
my neck.  They stomped on my back with their boots once, here and here.  
They punched me here and on my stomach many times.  They ordered me 
to carry things and demanded guns.  I left the Karen Army two years ago.  I 
told them, "I don't have any!" and they said, "Yes, you have!"   They tied 
me up and stomped on me.  They handcuffed my hands behind my back 
and attached the handcuffs to the post of the monastery.  They ordered me 
to stretch my legs and keep them straight and together.  Then they stepped 
on my shins with their boots.  They made me stay under the hot sun for 
four days at Kru M'Tee monastery.  I felt burning inside.  They didn't allow 
me to drink any water.  They only gave me one cup of rice and salt, and 
they gave this only in the afternoon.  Early the next morning they gave me 
another cup of rice.  In the night they didn't untie me and I had to stay 
sitting up.

After 4 days, they gave me a pass [allowing him to stay].  They said, "If 
you lose this pass, you don't need to say one word" [i.e. don't even bother 
trying to explain].   When they gave me the pass the commander told the 
soldiers, "If you see that pass, don't bother him and don't arrest him".  After 
they released me, they called me back many times and I had to carry things 
for them.   Then when the other SLORC troops [a new group] saw my pass, they
tore it up.  After my pass was torn, the first group of soldiers  tried to
arrest me again.  I had to go and stay in the forest. Then I went to stay in
xxxx [in Thailand].  I am still there doing day labour.  My wife and her
mother are staying there.  Her mother and her older brother cannot see very
well.  She has "tha mu paw" [a disease which causes blindness].  I arrived
after my wife.  She came first.

Q:  Were you the only one tortured in the village?
A:  No, my elder brother and my uncle too.  They arrested my brother and 
I on the same day but they kept us separately in Kru M'Tee.  They kept my 
elder brother by the road and I was detained at the monastery.  My elder 
brother was also an ex-soldier.  One of his friends surrendered to the SLORC
and came back with them.  The Burmese arrested my brother and also demanded
guns from him.  They  thought that he was a Captain, so they beat him and
stomped on him.  They tied him up and tortured him a lot too.  They made a
fire and forced him to hold his face close to the fire. His face was burnt
and became covered with blisters.  His mouth was also burnt and he couldn't
eat anymore.  After the first beatings he could still eat but not after the
burns.  He was tortured so badly for two days that he was passing blood in
his stools.  My elder brother also received a pass, but he lost his too [it
also was torn up by the new troops].

Only my brother had joined the army [KNLA] in the past, not my uncle. But
the Burmese also accused my uncle of having a gun.  They pushed my uncle's
head into the water.  He is 40 years old.  They bobbed his head up and down
in the river.  They made a fire under him and he was forced to lay above the
fire.  They smoked cheroots and pressed the burning cheroots on him.  They
handcuffed his hands behind his back.  They beat him 3 different times and
one time he went unconscious.  When he fell unconscious the soldiers hit him
with their gun butt.  There were many wounds on his body, and many scars all
over from the cheroot burns.  Blood still comes out of his mouth because of
the stomping he got.

Q:  Did they ask for porters in your village?
A:  5 people every day.  They have to carry 3 tins [50 kg./110 lb.] of rice 
to Seik Gyi and then they have to come back in the middle of the night.  If 
the porters get too tired to go on, they catch new ones.  It is a long way 
from Seik Gyi to our village, 4 days' walk.  So altogether their duty is for 5 
days [4 days carrying the rice, then a fast non-stop walk home].

Before there were 20 households in xxxx, but now only 12 or 13 households
remain in the village.  The men have gone to stay outside the village and
the women remain in the village.  Many people stay outside the village, some
have gone to other villages and some have gone to stay at xxxx.  My elder
brother is now at xxxx.  I have 4 brothers and 2 sisters.  I am the
youngest.  My father died already when I was young.  My mother stays in
Burma and I came alone to stay here with my parents-in-law. I would like to
go and see my mother but I dare not go back.  If the Burmese meet me there
will be problems for me.
NAME:    "Saw Po Ther"     SEX: M     AGE: 18   Karen Christian farmer
FAMILY:  Married, no children
ADDRESS: xxxx village, Waw Raw township   	INTERVIEWED: 8/97

["Saw Po Ther" had to flee his village after being tortured by SLORC.]

I arrived here with my wife on July 6th.  I left my village because the 
Burmese tortured us and accused us of having guns.  We don't have guns.  
They arrested us on April 16th and asked us to give them guns.  We had a 
television and they took it.  Before they arrested me, they took everything - 
sleeping mat, watch, goat, chickens, pigs, plates, pots, ... They took
everything from me.    They accused people of contacting the rebels. They
arrested me at my house, took me to the church and beat me there.  I told
them that I don't have any gun but they said I have.  The first night they
tied me to a tree and didn't beat me.  In the morning, they tortured me for
3 hours, stopped for a while and then beat me again for one hour.  Then they
arrested me again on April 28th.  They kept me in the church for 12 hours,
the whole night, and the next day at noon they moved me to another place
along the Tha May river and they tortured me again.  They rolled a piece of
wood on my shins.  They tied my feet in the air, my hands behind my back and
hung me up [hanging upside down].  They hit me so many times that I couldn't
count it, and I was bleeding here and there and here...  My whole body was
swollen.  They beat me with a piece of wood, on my head, my body, my feet.
They hoofed me, kicked me with their boots and beat me until I was broken.
You wouldn't have recognised me if you saw me then.  They tortured me until
I was unconscious.  I didn't vomit because I swallowed it.  I didn't want to
show them that I was really hurt.

Then after beating me up, at 7 o'clock in the evening they put me in the 
water for 15 or 20 minutes and let me breathe only sometimes.  They tied 
me up that night.  I had to stay there on April 30th.  Then they moved me to 
Ywathit and they tied me up there for 3 days, and then they sent me to Ya 
Kra and I was kept there for 3 days.  In the mornings the Burmese ate fried 
rice and drank tea, but they didn't give anything to us.  Only sometimes in 
the afternoon they gave us one piece of chicken with stale rice.  Once in the 
evening they gave us one meal.  Then they untied one of my hands, and 
one night later they released me.

I didn't go to hospital because it is far away from my house.  I stayed in my 
house for one month in May to recover.  #44 Division had already left and I 
thought I could stay in our village.  But then on July 1st I heard that #44 
Division was coming again, so I decided to leave the village and I arrived 
here on July 6th.  

Q:  Did they torture other people in the village?
A:  They also arrested 2 of my elder brothers.  The three of us were
tortured more than the others.  With the others, they only ordered them to
carry things as porters.  My two elder brothers were tortured even more than
I was.  They were arrested the same night as me.  The soldiers beat their
shins and their heads with a piece of wood.  Now they cannot walk anymore.
They can just stay like this.   And they had to go into the hole for 6 days.
They had to pass urine right there in the hole.  They were released on May
4th.  My brothers are still staying in the village.  They didn't come
because they think they are too many problems on the way.  They will come if
the situation gets worse.

Q:  Did you have to be a porter?
A:  No, because the headman did not allow me to stay in the village anymore.
In our village, they are asking for 5 kinds of porters. Since their boat
sank they have asked for human porters, bullock-cart porters, boat porters,
carrying porters and porters to guard them.  [He uses the term for 'porter'
to refer to any kind of forced labour; by 'carrying porters' he means people
to carry supplies, while 'human porters' presumably means people for Army
camp labour and 'porters to guard them' means forced sentry duty.]  In the
place where their boat sank,  their guns also sank and so they ordered
villagers to guard the place.  [Some escaped porters reported that this
sinking occurred during this rainy season, when a boat carrying a dozen
soldiers as well as a group of porters tied to each other was attempting to
cross a river in that area and sank.  The 12
soldiers drowned because of their boots and heavy equipment, while the porters 
managed to swim tied up together and reach the bank.  After the incident, 
the Army was determined to recover the guns from the river bottom, so they
forced villagers to guard the place and also forced them to dive into the
wild current to recover the guns.]

We're not making things up behind the backs of the Burmese.  I want to tell 
you this to report it because what they are doing is really true, they are 
torturing us like this without mercy and we cannot bear it.  I don't say this 
just to tell bad things about them.  It is the very truth.  Our soldiers are
weak and there is no fighting.  Why are they treating us like this?  

Q:  Do you feel safe here?
A:  Not safe but we can rest for a while.  I'll just wait and see
I won't go back to my village.
NAME:    "Saw Lah Kuh"    SEX: M     AGE: 41      Karen Christian farmer
FAMILY:  Married, 5 children
ADDRESS: xxxx village, Kya In township            INTERVIEWED: 8/97

["Saw Lah Kuh" was headman of his village, but fled after being detained 
in a hole in the ground and beaten by SLORC troops.]

Q:  When did you leave your village?
A:  I cannot say exactly, because when I escaped from my village I was 
really frightened.  It was over 3 weeks ago.  The SLORC hurt the people, 
so I was afraid and came here.  It took me 3 days to get here.

Q:  How did they arrest you?
A:  At first [when SLORC occupied the village] I escaped for about one week
and the village elder asked me to come back.  He is the SLORC headman in our
village [the villagers choose one headman to represent them to SLORC (though
SLORC often dictates whom this will be), and another to represent them to
the KNU; "Saw Lah Kuh" was the "KNU headman"].  He has to go often to the
Burmese camp.  He called me back to go to their camp.  They had built a
temporary camp in our village. The Burmese had requested him to go and call
me.  He told me: "Even though you escape, you are not safe.  The Burmese
will not be around for just 2 or 3 months!"  So I had to go back and stay in
my house.  I went to the Burmese and I had to let them interrogate me.  I am
the leader of the village group [liaison with the KNU].

Q:  What did they do to you?
A:  In April, they put me in the hole and interrogated me because I was the 
village headman.  That is the main reason.  When I arrived at their place, 
they asked my name.  My name was already written down in their list on 
their books.  Then they immediately put me in the hole and didn't allow me 
to say a word.  After they put me in the hole, the Burmese called the young 
man who works together with me and interrogated him too.  Then they took 
me out of the hole and questioned me more.  They put me in the hole again 
for another half day and then interrogated me again.  They interrogated me 
three times each day.  They asked so many questions on so many things that 
I cannot tell you all of it.  They questioned me about guns and about Karen 
soldiers. "Where did the soldiers escape to?" and "Where did they hide their 
guns?"   I didn't know about that.  I didn't see that.  So I couldn't tell 
anything.  But they interrogated me until I couldn't answer anymore. When 
I felt very tired they would let me rest for a while, and then as soon as I was 
a little better they interrogated me again.  They frightened me.  They cocked 
their pistol to shoot me.  During the first 8 days they didn't torture me, but 
on the last day they did.  

On the 9th day, they started torturing me.  They kicked me with their boots 
and punched me.  My chin was hurt.  They punched my chin twice and I fell
unconscious.  Then people came to lift me up and the Burmese put me 
in Y---'s house.  That house was inside the Army camp fences.  After 9 
days, they released me.

#44 [Division] arrested me.  #44 also arrested other people who were
tortured more than me.  Altogether 12 people were arrested.  The first time
they arrested 6 and later 6 more. Those who worked together with me were
beaten more than me and were detained longer than me.  The Burmese tied them
up, punched them, kicked them and put them in the hole.  I couldn't see all
of them because we were kept separately.  They arrested us at the same time
but they separated us at once.  In the evening they put us together.  In the
daytime they separated us.

When #22 Division came in, they asked the village elders about me and then
they started interrogating me again.  They didn't do anything to me.  I just
explained to them that when they make operations like this, the Karen
soldiers split and move in separate groups, so obviously they wouldn't tell
me where they stay and I don't know that.  Then when #549 [Light Infantry]
Battalion came, I dared not face them because they always beat people they
meet on the road or see ploughing their fields.

Q:  What is the situation now in xxxx?
A:  I already left so I don't know, but before I came here they used to do 
like that.  We don't have time to work in the fields, and they order us to go 
and carry things for them.  If they see us when we are ploughing or if they 
see us on the road, they call us and beat us.  Therefore we cannot work in 
our fields anymore and we came here.  We always had the problem of 
going as porters.  Now there is more oppression but I can't explain 
everything.  They take a lot, chickens, pigs, cattle, coconuts,... and they 
took some rice from some villagers but not from others.  

Q:  Were any villages around xxxx forced to move?
A:  Yes, I heard that the Burmese ordered villages to move, like Kwih Gyi 
Kloh.  Around xxxx, the small villages and the villages where many had fled 
and few people were left all had to move to the big villages.  To Meh Ta 
Kreh village and to Ka Kyar village, I heard.  I heard that the soldiers just 
came and gave the order.

Q:  Where did the villagers go?
A:  xxxx.  They have problems on the way because of the floods and the 
rivers and they have small children.  Some men came here to check  the 
place and then went back to bring their families, but because of the rains 
they haven't arrived yet.

Q:  Do you feel safe here?
A:  We stay here and we are waiting to see how the situation will evolve.  If 
we can stay, we will. If we have to move, we will move again.  xxxx. I don't 
feel very safe here but it is better than there.  As long as we are staying 
away from the SLORC, our hearts are a bit cooler.
NAME:    "Saw Ler Muh"     SEX: M     AGE: 45   Karen Christian farmer
FAMILY:  Married, 7 children
ADDRESS: xxxx village, Waw Raw township   	INTERVIEWED: 8/97

["Saw Ler Muh" is a church elder from a village near the Thanbyuzayat - 
Three Pagodas Pass road.  He had to flee after SLORC troops ordered 
him to find guns for them.]

Q:  When and why did you leave your village?
A:  On July 15th.  It took me one day to get here.  When I was living in 
xxxx, they came and asked for chickens.  Then they went into the houses 
and searched everything.  They didn't get anything.  They left and then 
another group came.  They found two bullets in my kitchen.  I think that the 
first group who came to my house left those two bullets behind purposely 
and told the second group how to find them so they could accuse me.  
Karens never use that kind of bullets, they were G3 bullets.  [The G3
assault rifle is used by SLORC troops but almost never by Karen forces, who
prefer M16 and AK47 assault rifles.]  "Are these M16 gun bullets?" they
asked.  I told them, "No, they are G3 bullets!" and I went inside the house
and took a gun to show them.  I had a hunting gun.  They said to me, "You
have to look for this gun until we get it."  They gave me a deadline, 3
days, to find the gun.  I couldn't find the gun and I fled.  That is the
reason why I left.
First they ordered me to find the gun which the bullets came from. Then 
within 2 or 3 days they demanded that the whole village find them one
gun.  The villagers could not find a gun and had to give them 2,000 Kyats. 
Then later again they asked for two guns and since the villagers could not
find them, the Burmese soldiers went to the Tha May riverside and captured
the headman there.  His name is xxxx and they called him back with them. 
xxxx is an old man and he is friendly with the Burmese leaders.  The
leaders from Seik Gyi gave him a special pass.  When the Burmese soldiers
who captured him saw that pass, they couldn't do anything to him so they
let him free.  Then the Burmese left the village.  They couldn't do
anything. But as soon as they left, the families also left the village at
once and came
to this area.

In the past, there was no one in xxxx and then the Burmese forced people to
move there.  After the people went to stay there, the Karen soldiers did not
come anymore.  Before we were staying at the mouth of the stream and along
the Tha May river, then the Burmese forced the people to go and stay near
the main road.  xxxx is very spread out, divided into 3 parts, so altogether
there are 60 houses but my area, the middle section, has 30 houses.  But now
the Burmese come often and ask the people for guns, so the villagers are now
all scattered here and there.  I don't know how many houses are left but in
the upper side no more families remain.  Some are still left in the part of
the village where I stayed.

Q:  What did the soldiers do in your village?
A:  They stay in the village and they ask for porters, shoot the cattle and the 
pigs, and steal our chickens.  They wait along the road for the cattle traders, 
they demand one cow from them and then let them go.  They don't bring their
rations, instead they ask rice from the villagers and the villagers have to
feed them.

I was not a porter but I had to give money - each month 200 Kyats for porter
fees, and twice a month we have to give other fees as well. Then for the
Captain who came and stayed there, we had to give 10,000 Kyats.  I don't
know why, maybe for the soldiers' salaries.  This is for #202 [Battalion],
#355 [Battalion], and #44 [Division].  The headman said that if each house
gives 200 Kyats, he will find people to hire [to meet the demands for
porters].  We gave the money to the headman, and the headman gave the money
to the Captain.  The officer who stays in our village is not the commander.
The commander stays in Lay Noh [called Taung Zone by the Burmese, along the
Thanbyuzayat - Three Pagodas Pass road].  He asked for the money so we had
to give it.  They move 
around that area, and porters have to go with them and carry their things 
and ammunition in the rain.  In the rainy season the road is washed out and 
trucks can only come up to Anand Gwin.  It is half a day's walk between 
Taung Zone and xxxx [his village].

Q:  Do you feel safe here?
A:  My heart is not cool yet.  Do you think I might have to move again?
NAME:    "Saw Kler Eh"      SEX: M    AGE: 25      Karen Christian
FAMILY:  Married, 2 children
ADDRESS: xxxx village, Kya In township             INTERVIEWED: 8/97

["Saw Kler Eh"'s brother, who was present at the interview, was beaten by 
SLORC troops even though he is deaf and mute and must communicate in 
a sign language unique to his family.  "Saw Kler Eh" himself was once a 
Karen soldier so he was accused of possessing guns.  Both brothers had to 
flee the village.]

I arrived here during the last week of July, about one month ago.  I dared 
not stay in xxxx.   I used to be a Karen soldier.  I left the army already, but 
the Burmese accused me of having guns.  They told me to find them.  I 
knew that if I couldn't they would start to harm me. 

Q:  Could you give money instead?
A:  No.

One month ago, my elder brother was staying in a hut and the Burmese came
there.  He cannot speak [he is deaf and mute]. They ordered him to come down
from the hut and hit him twice with a knife on his head and took his clothes
and money.  He hadn't left with me because he thought that he would stay and
do the farm work.  But after that, he dared not stay and work in the farm

Q:  What other problems did the SLORC make in your village?
A:  They asked for porters, and if they could catch any animals they ate 
them.  They always asked for porters.  When I came here they were asking 
for 7 porters.  Even after the villagers already go [for a shift as porters], 
they come and catch more people ploughing in the fields.  After I left, I 
heard that now they are demanding up to 20 porters.  We have to go by 
turn.  If they need you for a week, you have to go for a week.  If they go 
somewhere, the porters have to go with them.  If they stay, you have to stay 
with them.  If your time is up, you must be replaced.  They change porters 
every week.  Some people who have carried their things have been badly 
tortured.  Some of them have had to climb high mountains and couldn't do 
it anymore so they were beaten.  When they came back the skin of their 
backs was damaged and raw.  I know some of them but they haven't come 
here.  Before I left, among the porters who came back to the village two of 
them had had the skin of their back ripped off until it was completely raw, 
and another one had been beaten.  

Over 20 families have left our village up to now.  Before we had 50 or 60 
households.  It is not easy to leave because we have to pass through the 
Burmese.  We had to go secretly without them seeing, because they would 
never allow us to come here.  We're not safe here either, but it is better than 
in our village.
NAME:    "Saw Nee Th'Blay"   SEX: M    AGE: 57     Karen Christian
FAMILY:  Married, 6 children
ADDRESS: xxxx village, Kya In township             INTERVIEWED: 8/97

["Saw Nee Th'Blay" was a church elder in his village but had to flee after 
SLORC occupied the area and began abusing the villagers.]

I arrived at the Thai border about 3 months ago.  We dared not stay in our 
village because the SLORC oppressed us.  They didn't oppress me so much 
but they oppressed my children [his church congregation] too much, so I 
felt as though they were oppressing me.  They put some in holes, some were
beaten, some were punished, some were bleeding so much that we dared not
even look at them.  Therefore I left with my whole family.

They beat and kicked and punched, they did so many things.  Many people 
were tortured in my village.  Not only in my village, in every village.  The 
Burmese demanded guns.  Even though you don't have any guns, they say 
you have.

Q:  How many people were tortured in xxxx [his village]?
A:  More than 20.  In my [extended] family, they tortured about 10 of
us.  My nephews and nieces, my grandchildren, ...   They had to suffer mostly 
in the same way.  If they put one person in the hole for 3 hours, then they 
do the same to everyone.  They put them in, take them out to demand guns, 
then put them back in again, out and in again... all the time.  The troops that 
torture the villagers are from #44 Division.  Then another group came and 
oppressed us more than them, and afterwards another one came and oppressed
us even more.  I couldn't stay there anymore and face all these problems.

Q:  How often did they come?
A:  They always come often, going around and checking everywhere.  But 
since they came in April they've always stayed in the village.  Now they stay 
in every village.  In my village, 200 soldiers came to stay.  In the other 
villages, about 100, 200 or 300 soldiers.  They stayed until the rainy season 
and then left.  Now there are fewer in the village.

They stayed in the villagers' houses.  They took everything.  I don't even 
want to talk about it.  They arrived and took our rice without even asking.  
They also took our prawn paste and ate it.

Q:  Did they give you money for what they took?
A:  Not at all.

Q:  Did they order the villagers to be porters for them?
A:  That man [his son - see interview #3 with "Saw Tee Wah"], the skin
of his back was ripped off and the flesh is still raw now.

Q:  Now how many households are still left?
A:  There were 70 houses in xxxx [his village].  Now I am not sure how 
many are left.  You should ask people who came out later than me.

Another man:   I left 3 weeks ago and only 50 houses remained.  And I
am not sure whether they are going to stay in the village or not because 
everyone wants to leave.

Q:  What are your plans now?
A:   We can't go anywhere so we are planning to stay here for the time
being.  First we went to stay at xxxx but our hearts were not cool [Karen
expression meaning that he was worried and afraid there].  So I arrived here
but my wife and my children are still left there.

                          - [END OF REPORT] -