Human Rights Yearbooke 1994: Burma

 

2

 

Extra-judicial,

Summary or Arbitrary Executions

 

 

If we captured Karen soldiers we never kept them alive. We killed them. The NCOs didn't even interrogate them, they just said, 'Pray to your God' and killed them with a bayonet, then beheaded them. Then sometimes they fried their heart and liver and ate it. I saw Corporal Aung Myint do this. This was done often by the sergeants, warrant officers and sometimes company commanders. The company commander gave the order to kill the prisoners, and got the officers or NCOs under him to do it. Once we found a wounded Karen soldier and they stepped on his throat to kill him. Other times they killed wounded Karen soldiers with a bayonet. I saw several Karen soldiers executed like this, and also villagers with connections to the KNLA. If they suspected any villagers of being in contact with the KNLA they summoned them, and they never used a gun just a bayonet. Usually the lance corporals and corporals did it, sometimes the sergeants. They had no real evidence  if they didn't like the look of a civilian they'd just accuse him of being connected to the KNLA and kill him.

Zaw Myint, Burma Army deserter, KHRG interview, 7 August 1994

 

While military tribunals are no longer handing out death sentences on civilians, the number of executions in Burma has not decreased. Most incidents show a tendency for executions through forced portering which involved human mine-sweeping and acting as human shields in combat zones. Porters also have been severely beaten and not fed enough food, being left along the wayside. Victims of summary executions are in many cases villagers who are accused of being involved with insurgency groups despite the lack of evidence. Women are commonly killed by soldiers after being raped, for fear that the victims of these double crimes will report the sexual assaults.

 

Arbitrary executions take place anywhere and at any time, by military leaders as well as rank and file. People who run from the military – even in cities – out of fear of being forced into portering, are routinely shot at without regard for their lives. This sort of recklessness brings back memories of the 3,000-10,000 pro-democracy demonstrators murdered by army troops since 1988. Recent arbitrary executions also include prisoners being tortured to death while in custody, beatings, denial of adequate food and medical care, and subhuman conditions in prisons. Executions of all kinds have focused particularly on ethnic peoples, in most cases only because of their ethnic backgrounds. For instance, as many as 300 Muslims have been killed by SLORC since January while another 3,000 were imprisoned and subjected to those life-threatening conditions. True numbers of deaths may never be known, but one fact remains clear; civilian death by execution is commonplace throughout Burma by the military.

 

[see also under “Eye-witness Accounts”, interview 33-34, 44-45, 47-48, 55, 59-62, 85, 92-97, 100, 106-113, 117-119, 130]

 

List of Incidents

 

On 31 December 1993, in Paw Autaw Village, Kyauk Kyi Township, Pegu Division, IB 60 commanded by Capt Nyi Soe under Southern Command, arrested Saw Ther Toe (son of Saw Tin Shwe) and accused him of being a KNU sympathiser. The soldiers tied him up, stabbed his arms and legs with knives, burned out both his eyes and dragged him through the streets of the village. They kept him alive until 6 January 1994, when they executed him. [source: KNU]

 

On 5 January, SLORC troops from IB 57 executed 2 villagers from Phar Paung Village at Ohn Pin Chanung, Nyaunglebin District.

 

On 16 January, a company of SLORC troops led by Hla Tun of IB 506 and a faction of the Shan State Army, which defected to SLORC and was led by Sai Norng, arrived in Norng Sien Village, arrested Sai Su (male, 38), headman of Torng Teik Parish, Hsipaw Township in northern Shan State. The victim was accused of sending information to the rebels in that area. After conducting an interrogation with torture, he was killed by Ai Thun (Kha Tong) of the SSA. Soldiers then ransacked the victim's house, took 25,000 Ks in cash and other property and destroyed one image of Lord Buddha by chopping the statue into pieces. [source: SHRF]

 

On 12 January, SLORC troops from IB 246 shot to death Sai Seng Harn (male, 24) from No. 1 Quarter of Kun Hein Township in southern Shan State without warrant. This occurred in the southern part of the town while the troops were patrolling the area. [source: SHRF]

 

On 24 January, 40 soldiers of IB 39, commanded by Capt Mya Shwe, opened fire on a group of cattle traders driving their herds near Kyautager and Maw Khee villages in Taungoo District. One of the traders was killed while 26 cattle were ransacked by SLORC troops. [source: KNU]

 

On 13 February, Bn Comdr Lt Col Yin Soe Min and Coy Comdr Capt Soe Naing from IB 84, under the command of LID 99, executed Saw Thar Kyi (41) and Saw Tun Phwa (27, son of Phwa Gaw Yar from Talai Kayin Village, Thaton District) and took 30,000 Ks in cash belonging to the victims. [source: ABSDF/KNU]

 

On 19 February, Sai Be (30, son of U Lon Ann and Daw Mai) from Ma Khae Kham Village in Lwe Paw Parish, Hpe Khon Township, was arrested by IB 336 led by Dep Bn Comdr Chit Than with the accusation of possessing of illegal firearms. The victim was beaten at Hpe Khon military outpost and on 22 February he was brought by the military column to Lwe Paw. On that day, Maung Pa Loke (25, son of U Ho Lwa and Daw Mu Larong, from Upper Karen Tike Village, Hpe Khon Township) was also arrested with the same allegation. On 24 February, both of them were tied up under Lwe Paw Monastery, punched, beaten with rifle butts, jumped up and down on abdomen and stroked with rocks at the back. Both of them were beaten to death on the hill-top located in the eastern part of the village and buried together.

 

Death in Custody

 

29-year old Yan Gyi Aung from No. 4, Zee Taw Quarter, Pa-an Township, Karen State, had fled to the KNU headquarters soon after the coup in 1988. The following year he decided to return to Burma, or the “legal fold”, as SLORC puts it. Yan Gyi Aung was promptly arrested and sentenced to the death penalty by a military tribunal before the 1990 election. Buddhist monks in Karen State appealed to the court and his sentenced was reduced to life imprisonment. In March 1994, the victim died of cholera after receiving no medical treatment while in prison.

 

On 2 March, Pvt Soe Moe Naing from SLORC military 1st Column led by Warrant Officer Ngwe Maung of LIB 341, shot Ma Mi Nge (16, daughter of U Ba Pe and Daw Nu from Kyun Pin Village, Papun Township, Karen State) with his BA-63 rifle, hitting her on the left side of the chest which caused death. This occurred when the perpetrator tried to rape the victim at gunpoint and, when the victim refused and attempted to defend herself, the perpetrator killed her. When Coy Comdr Capt Tu Lun and his troops reached the village, they reported that this was a case of an accidental shooting that resulted while Soe Moe Naing was hunting wild poultry. The captain threatened the villagers that those who attempted to degrade the dignity of the armed forces will be shot to death. In fear of their safety, the parents of the victim and other villagers dared not raise the case. [source: ABSDF]

 


The Ultimate Result of SLORC Presence: Torture, Death, Fear and Displacement

 

On 3 March, soldiers from IB 35, based in Kyauk Kyi, entered Paw Mu Der Village. It has 24 houses, 143 people. It is only a one-hour walk from the Say Day Camp of SLORC IB 59 based in Kyauk Kyi. On 3 March, 2nd Column of that IB 59 led by Column Comdr Maj Aung San Oo came to the village. As soon as the villagers knew they were there they tried to escape to the jungle, without being able to take anything with them. SLORC troops captured 20 people who did not know how to escape, particularly women and children, including Saw Ghay (male, 35) and his 3-year old daughter. Saw Ghay's wife was very sick but still managed to escape with their another child, an 18-month old son. Saw Ghay's sister-in-law was hiding in another house, and saw the soldiers drag Saw Ghay away from the others. In addition, there were arrested a total of 19 villagers – 2 men, 7 women, and 10 children. Then the soldiers took all the villagers' belongings from every house. They stayed there for 2 days and then released everyone except Saw Ghay.

 

They found a photo in Saw Gay’s house showing a man in a Karen uniform, so they accused Saw Gay of having a relative in the Karen army and ordered him to explain. Afterwards they took him cut off his arms and legs. They left him bleeding on the ground for 2 hours, but he was still not quite dead so they cut off his penis, then cut open his belly and ripped out his internal organs. Saw Gay’s brother is in the Karen army, but Saw Gay himself was just an innocent villager.

 

Naw Lay Swai, age 75, was reportedly kept tied naked to a tree. When the troops left the village, they took with them 40 pigs, 38 goats and all the villagers’ chickens and ducks; whatever the soldiers couldn't carry away with them were destroyed. Since then many of the people in the village have fled to Karen-controlled areas closer to the Thai border.

 

The troops stayed in the village for three days. Afterwards they returned to their camp and reported to their higher authorities that they had taken a Karen position in battle, captured and executed a Karen soldier, and that the property they'd collected was from the Karen base [this was reported to the villagers by one of the soldiers; also note that Saw Ghay was not a Karen soldier]. Now the villagers dare not stay in Paw Muh Der Village anymore, so they've moved to another place where there is not fertile enough for growing crops. [source: KNU]

 

On 10 March, 2nd Column of LIB 59 Comdr Aung San Oo came to Thay Baw Village and shot and killed villager Saw Soe Ghay Htoo (35, son of Saw K'Bweh). After shooting him, they stabbed his body all over with a knife and then left it behind. Then on 18 March the same troops went to Thu Day Village and shot dead villager Saw Ko Pa Moo (30, son of Saw Plah Heh); just as they had done in Thay Baw Village, they then stabbed his body all over with a knife before leaving the corpse lying there.

 

On 17 March, Column Comdr Ah Tin and Coy Comdr Myat Soe of SLORC IB 37 opened fire on the villagers from Ko Kyaw Kaw Soo Village, Nyaunglebin District, while they were collecting firewood. Five villagers were gunned down with the result that 1 person died.

 

On 18 March, 2nd Column of IB 59 led by Column Comdr Maj Aung San Oo went to Thu Day Village, Papun Township, Karen State, and shot dead Saw Ko Pa Moo (30, son of Saw Plah Heh). Then the troops again committed the same violations as they did to the victim's body in Thay Baw Village (above).

 

Rohingya Muslim Fishermen Executed

 

On 24 March, members of the Burmese military's Western Military Command patrolling the Naf River found a group of Rohingya Muslims fishing from a small country boat. The soldiers tried to extort money from the fishermen, but when they were unable to do so, tied them up with rope and brought them to Balu Khali Village in Maungdaw Township.

 

Eight of the Rohingya fishermen were interrogated and tortured for five days; although it is not known what statements the arrested Muslims had given to their torturers, the Na Sa Ka in-charge ordered to shoot all the arrested persons and accordingly, on 31 March at about 4:30 p.m., all of them were brought out of the camp with their hands tied behind their backs and they were made to stand in a row. Subsequently, they were all shot by firing squad. Persons who were killed without any trial and at the order of Na Sa Ka in-charge, Balukhali are:

 

1) Roostum Ali (35, son of Feran Ali) from Shwezapara, Maungdaw

2) Mohammed Shafi (27, son of Feta Ali) from Shwezapara, Maungdaw

3) Zafar Ahmed (22, son of Kala Meah) from Shwezapara, Maungdaw

4) Abu Jamil (35, son of Feran Ali) from Shwezapara, Maungdaw

5) Rahimullah (35, son of Abul Kasim) from Alaythangyaw, Maugdaw

6) Rashid Ahmed (22, son of Syed Akbar) from Alaythangyaw, Maungdaw

7) Abu Taher (27, son of Mohammed Hossain) from Alaythangyaw, Maungdaw

8) Mohammed Rafi (17, son of Aboo) from Akyab

 

It is to be reported further that the Muslim villagers of nearby villages who have contact with the Na Sa Ka concerned had earlier approached the officials with a request that the arrested persons were poor fishermen and did not have any bad record in their villages and should be released. However, the in-charge reportedly warned the villagers not to make any further request and went ahead with his decision to execute the fishermen.

 

The people of north Arakan have long been targets of whimsical killing by military officers. If villagers report the crime to higher officers, no charges of arrests are made. This particular incident, carried out despite the presence of UNHCR officials in Maungdaw, indicates that SLORC will not easily stop these types of persecution against the Muslims of Arakan. [source: MOA]

 

On 30 March, SLORC troops from IB 73 abducted 2 village headmen from Lay Ti and Nat Ywa villages of Taungoo District, and the victims were beaten to death.

 

On 28 April, SLORC troops from IB 96 came to Paw Ghee Khee Village, Thaton District, and shot Pa Kloh (26, son of Thaw Pee) to death. They also shot Saw Ger Ker (20) who was wounded in the arm and also suffered a broken leg.

 

On 10 May, troops from SLORC LIB 76 came to Kaw Kyer Ther Village, Thaton District, arrested villagers Kyaw Soe Pyu (32) and Saw Ganoo (35) and Pvt Maung Lay killed them both.

 

On 12 May, SLORC troops from LID 55 plundered and murdered in Wornmai Koong-tee Village, Worn Norng Parish, Mong Nai Township, southern Shan State. Financial losses suffered were cattle, pigs and chickens owned by Por Keik (20,130 Ks stolen), Mae Sala (16,500 Ks) and Pi Seng (200 Ks). Por Sala (male, 56) and Por Ni-ong (male, 41) were both shot to death without explanation by soldiers who then tried to hide their corpses in the east of Koong Na-long. [source: SHRF]

 

On 23 May at 5:00 p.m., SLORC troops from Coy 1 of IB 22, led by Coy Comdr Capt Khin Soe, arrested Sai Aung Mong (25, son of Lung Tsam Pa and Pa Nang Pin), of Shan nationality, living in Worn Pung Laing Village, Hsipaw Township, while the victim was working on Ye Yoke Farm. He was interrogated, tortured and beaten to death. [source: SHRF]

 

On 30 May, Thai police in Thom Papum, Kanchanaburi Province, stopped a bus coming from Kanchanaburi at Kyan Daw, near Thom Papum, Thailand, arresting any and all Tavoyans on the bus and detaining them at the station there. Police seized all the valuables of the detainees, who were on their way back to Burma after working in Thailand. On 1 June at 8:00 a.m., one of the detainees, namely Soe Win (24), gave a 100-Baht banknote to one policeman at the station and asked him to buy cheroots for him. While the victim was smoking, another policeman came in and beat Soe Win to death with a baton. [source: ABSDF]

 

In June 1994, SLORC troops commanded by Maj Soe Hlaing from IB 73 came to Say Pa Let Village, captured U Aw Htoo (55) and asked him where his son was. U Aw Htoo said his son had gone trading, but they didn’t believe him so Maj Soe Hlaing took U Aw Htoo and detained him for 1 month in the military barracks. When his son had still not appeared after that time, U Aw Htoo was executed.

 

In mid-June 1994. Laydoo (30, son of Jalal Ahmed), Mohammed Siddique (35, son of Fazal Ahmed), Mohammed Tayub (30, son of Shafif) and Abdul Jabbar (45), from Barigya-bil in Maungdaw Township, Arakan State, were tortured to death in the river by the SLORC troops. [MOA]

 

On 20 June, combined troops from IB 32 led by Maj Tun Yee, under the command of LID 33, and IB 36 led by Column Comdr Thein Zaw, went into Papun area, razed Phoe Tha Nge's house to the ground and shot Than Aung, Phoe Htaw and Saw Win to death.

 

On 10 July, four Pilatus PC-7s flew out of Kengtung, Shan State, and intentionally attacked a defenceless Ban Akha Village of Akha people in Tachilek. The planes dropped eight 80-lb bombs on the village, fired rockets and strafed the village with 30mm guns. In Ban Akhu two boys (ages 7 and 14) were killed while they were playing outside and 5 others were wounded. The back of one child's head was blown off while the other boy was mortally wounded. Several other villages also had to abandon because of SLORC air raids. [source: SHRF]

 

On 5 August, AIG soldiers and troops from IB 96 came to Shwe Yaw Pya Village, Thaton District, and called out Saw Ko Myint (37, son of Thaung Shwe). They asked him where the KNLA troops are and also ordered him to find them some guns. Saw Ko Myint didn’t know where to find any guns for them, so the troops demanded money from him. He had no money, so they killed him. [source: KYO]

 

At 4 p.m. on 17 August, AIG soldier Saw Cha Htoo came to K'dee Pu Village and shot and killed Saw Koo Rah (40). He also shot Nyunt Khin (50), severely wounding him, without cause or explanation. [source: KYO]

 

On 18 August, Tsai Hla-thay, a Shan farmer, was executed by IB 246. He was among several people captured to carry ammunition and supplies for SLORC columns moving between Laikha and Kun Hing. Unable to carry the heavy loads any more, he was shot to death by an unnamed soldier. Another porter in the same group, Tsai Tsaam Mya, attempted to escape but was caught and beaten severely with sticks. [source: SHRF]

 

On 22 August, SLORC troops from LIB 408 arrested U Shay (56), a bus comptroller from Ah Lae Sa Khan Village, Ye Phyu Township, at his home and brought him to the headquarters of LIB 408 in Paukpinkwin Village. He was accused of having contacts with the rebels and passing information to them. The victim’s ears were cut off, nails were driven through his hands and legs, and then his tongue was cut out. He was finally killed by driving nails into the crown of his head.

 

Sometime during the first week of September 1994, Noor Mohammed (about 45, son of Fakir Bakker), hailing from Myothugyi Village, 3 miles east of Maungdaw Township, Arakan State, was carrying some food items from Buthidaung Township. His bicycle was stopped for a routine check at a 3-mile outpost by Na Sa Ka forces. After searching, the official not only seized a small rice bag he was carrying but he was also beaten up for carrying objectionable goods. At this Noor Mohammed lost control of his temper and resisted the in-charge, reportedly called Thet Naing and belonging to MIS Unit 10. Under the circumstances, the in-charge became furious and went for his pistol. Perceiving the danger, Noor Mohammed ran for his life and took refuge in an under construction building of the UNHCR but the 15 security forces of the 3-mile outpost who were after him finally caught their intended, only to be punished with summary death. His dead body was later handed over to his family members for burial. [source: MOA]

 

On 7 September, the camp commander of SLORC’s Ba Nwe Kla Camp ordered 2 villagers from Naw Htoo Day Village to deliver a letter to the commanders of Coy 4 of IB 24 at Kwi Lay Doh Camp. When they arrived there, soldiers shot one of them dead and the other villager was ordered to enter the camp. The camp commander told him that his friend had been shot for not showing the commander “proper respect”. The villager who was shot dead was Saw Pa Kwee (57) from Naw Htoo Day Village.

 

Villagers Who Flee Forced Porterage Are Tortured and Murdered

 

On 11 September at 8 p.m., Coy 1 of IB 27 under LID 33, Bn Comdr Chit Thaung, Second-in-Command Zaw Myint, Coy 1 Comdr Capt Win Tint, entered Kru See Village (Burmese: Kyaun Sein Village). All the villagers ran away because they were afraid to be taken as porters. The company opened fire.

 

Tee Toh Po, a 38-year-old Karen Buddhist farmer of Kru See Village, was hit in the leg by a bullet. The bone of his left lower leg was broken, but the managed to escape even though wounded. Maung Than Oo (26, son of Tee Der Day, married with 2 children) was hit in the jaw by a bullet during the shooting and died on the evening of 11 September. Three other men were captured by the SLORC soldiers, and all of them were executed at 4 a.m. on 12 September. The victims were Moo Ko (21, son of Maung San Win, unmarried), Ko Naing (23, son of U Than Ngwe, unmarried) and Thein Win (18, son of U Aung Shwe, unmarried). All of these men were Karen Buddhist farmers from Kru See Village.

 

The villagers never recovered Maung Than Oo's body, but the other three were found. Moo Ko had been stabbed with a knife in his throat. His entire body had been broken all over – it was black, and the villagers could barely recognise him. Ko Naing's nose had been cut off and he had been stabbed in the eyes and in both of his ears. His body had also been broken all over and it was black. Thein Win had had all his teeth broken and his left arm was broken. The left side of his face had been cut with a knife, and his body had also been broken all over.

 

While the soldiers were in the village, they also looted all of the villagers' belonging from their homes: clothes, rice, pots, etc. They also took and ate all the chickens, fruit and vegetables they wanted. The village headman begged the company commander, Capt Win Tint, to release the four villagers, but he was beaten up and couldn't dare ask again. One of the four killed, Moo Ko, was the village headman's son. On 12 September at noon, the villagers returned and found the bodies, then prepared them for cremation. After the bodies were found the human rights monitor attempted to interview the mother of one of the four killed, but she could only cry and say "On my misfortune... my youngest son is dead... misfortune... my son is dead..." again and again. [source: KHRG]

 

On 12 September, soldiers from LIB 27 (Bn Comdr Maj Aung Myint, deputy commanders Myint Zaw and Capt Win Tun) killed three villagers; Saw Ko Nee (23, son of U Thein Nwe), Saw Mkoe Ko (21, son of U Kya Thay) and Saw Thay Win (12, son of U Aung Shwe).

 

The Burmese military forces military patrolling south of Buthidaung Township entered Saubrang Village on 18 September and took away Moulvi Dil Monammed (25), alleging that he had been associated with anti-state elements. He was later shot dead without any trial. [source: MOA]

 

The same group of Burmese military forces who patrol south of Buthidaung Township again entered Saubrang Village on 20 September and arrested one Mohammed Ayub (23, son of Mohammed) and Mohammed Anwar (22, son of Moulvi Abu Bakker) without assigning any reason. Later, the two youths were inhumanely tortured and subsequently shot dead. [source: MOA]

 

On 31 October, four army personnel including one sergeant belonging to the 525th Burma Regiment, stationed at Aung Mingala outpost entered the house of Ma Nu Begum (25, wife of Qarim) at Headmanpara Village and attempted to rape her. She resisted and the soldiers retreated. Having exasperated at their failed mission, the soldiers on their return to camp met Jalal Ahmed (about 12, son of Haffiz Ahmed) hailing from Chowdurya and the boy was beaten to death. Not satisfied with this, they killed Mahammed Hussain (60, son of Fetan Ali) from Rwanmagone Village, Buthidaung Township. The man was firstly tortured and later his head was disfigured due to severe strikes with a wooden bar. Mohammed Hussain was killed while he was working in his farmland for growing vegetables. [source: MOA]

 

About 100 SLORC troops from Shwe Kyin-based IB 351 led by Deputy Bn Comdr Lt Col Kyaw Kyaw, penetrated into villages located north of Shwe Kyin and committed torture and killings of innocent villagers on 20 November. That military column arrested U Saw Bi (58) from Shwe Kyin Township, Pegu Division, while he was working on his farm in Pade Gaw Parish, near a church in Swe Dein Village. At that time he was on his way to church for worship services, when SLORC troops accused him of having contact with the rebels. Although U Saw Bi said that he was only an innocent farmer and had not known anything about their question, the Deputy Bn Comdr brought U Saw Bi, who was tied up at that time, to a nearby monastery in Shan Su Village and forced the victim to dig an earthen pit. Then the deputy commander himself stabbed one stroke each on both sides of the victim's neck with a bayonet and fired into his abdomen with a 9mm pistol. Then buried the victim in the newly-dug pit at approximately 8:30 p.m. on 21 November. He left behind his wife Daw Naw Khu Hae and six children. [NLD-LA]

 

On 18 December, companies from SLORC LIB 351 patrolled the area in Shwe Kyin Township, Pegu Division. At 11:45 a.m., when they arrived old Tai Pin Village, located north of Shwe Kyin Township, without asking anything, they opened fire on the villagers from Shan Su Village who were on their way to cut bamboo for their household use. Ko Hla Myint (35, husband of Ma Pu) was hit by three G-3 bullets and killed. SLORC troops took away a sarong and a bag in which was carried money. Other villagers escaped. [source: NLD-LA]

 

On 22 December, SLORC troops from LIB 351 shot Maung Zaw Naing Oo (son of U Kyaw Hlaing) and other 5 people from Ma Bee Lay Village near Kaw Htaw Kaloe River, Shwe Kyin Township. Maung Zaw Naing Oo was hit 2 shot at the chest and found dead the following morning at a place 3 furlongs from where the incident occurred. [source: NLD-LA]

 

On 29 December at 11:00 p.m., SLORC troops from IB 73 threw a grenade into a crowd while they were holding a religious ceremony in In Gyin Koe Village, Htantabin Township, Pegu Division, causing the deaths of 10 villagers and wounding 24 others. [PDC]

 

On 31 December, Saw Lar Noe (20, son of Tee Kyaw Moe) from Tar Baw Khee Village, Thaton Township, Mon State, was shot dead without any reason by SLORC troops from IB 119. [PDC]