INTERVIEWS 80-103

 

Interview: 81  HRV:  Detention, Forced Labour, Livelihood

 


Name:                   Maung Thein Zaw

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       33

Ethnicity:              Burman

Religion:               Buddhist

Family:                 Married with 2 children (age 5 to 10)

Occupation:         Farmer

Address:                Bilin Town, Mon State


 

 

We had to pay porter fees of 50 Ks two or three times every month. We couldn’t pay every time, so put us on the list to be porters. The local SLORC head made a list of people to be arrested by the police. Then when I went to watch a video, the SLORC head said, “I want to talk to you about something,” and he took me to the police and they locked me up. When the army wanted porters, they just came to the lock-up and got us. I was with Maung VV— [see related interview 79] and the others.

 

We face so many problems because we are poor and living on a day-to-day basis. People who have money can pay the porter fees, but the rest of us are just put on the list. The local SLORC head collects the fees for the military, but this money is just for their personal use. Then whenever they want porters they come and arrest as many people as they can from the list.

 

Interview: 82  HRV:  Forced Labour, Livelihood

 


Name:                   Maung Tin Aung

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       21          

Ethnicity:              Burman

Religion:               Buddhist

Family:                 Single

Occupation:         Hawker

Address:                Thaton Town, Mon State


 

 

I was a hawker, and I like to sell things on the trains because we can make more money that way. But the police don’t allow us to sell on the trains, so in April many policemen came to Thaton Train Station to arrest all the hawkers and they fined us each 100 Ks. Some could pay that much but I couldn’t because I only had very little money. So they put me and the others in jail at Thaton Police Station for one night, then the next day the military came and we were given to them to be porters. The police gave at least 25 men to the army to be porters. The soldiers took us to Pa-an and locked us up for two nights. Then I had to go as a porter and carry six 81mm mortar shells.

 

Interview: 83  HRV:  Forced Labour, Torture

 


Name:                   U XX—

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       62

Ethnicity:              Burman

Religion:               Buddhist

Family:                 Married with 3 children

Occupation:         Farmer

Address:                Kyaik Mayaw Township, Mon State


 

 

U XX— was at the movies with his son when he was forcibly taken along with 18 others. SLORC troops took them from the village on Full Moon Day in October 1993 and sent them to Martaban, where they were put on a train to Pegu. They were kept there for two nights, then sent to Kyauk Kyi by truck. They slept there one night, then set out for the hills with 100 porters and 100 SLORC soldiers. two days later they reached the frontline area at Kyo Tadah Camp, where they were kept for one month. 100 porters were given 10 small army cook pots of rice per day. They were always hungry. They had to work carrying rocks every day, and while working they were tied together with rope in groups of four. They also had to carry 2 tins of rice at a time as porters, and any who couldn’t carry it were beaten with sticks or gun butts, kicked in the stomach with army boots and punched in the head. Some died and some escaped, and after one month there were only 50 porters left. Then the guards on duty one day allowed U XX— and five others to escape, each going their own way. He was alone in the forest on the run for two days before meeting two Karen soldiers who took him to their camp.

 

Interview: 84  HRV:  Forced Labour, Torture

 


Name:                   U YY—

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       54

Family:                 Married with 4 children

Occupation:         Labourer

Address:                Yi Da Shi Town, Pegu Division

 

Name:                   U ZZ—

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       42

Family:                 Single

Occupation:         Labourer

Address:                Pyu Town, Pegu Division

 

Name:                   U AAA—

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       45

Family:                 Married with 7 children

Occupation:         Labourer

Address:                Htan Ta Bin Town, Pegu Div


 

 

[Three escaped porters arrived at a Karen military camp east of Kyauk Kyi on 16 December 1993. U AAA— said he was conscripted as a porter by LIB 26. During his time as a porter Cpl Than Tun beat him on the head with a rifle butt. After two months as a porter the wound had still not healed.]

 

U BBB— was planting rice in the fields when he was arrested by LIB 59. They tied his hands, put him on a truck and sent him to Kyauk Kyi Town [a distance of 180 km on the map; much farther by truck over the rough roads of the Pegu Hills]. There he was handed to LIB 60 and sent to the frontline, where he was a porter for a month before being sent to LIB 30 under Maj Win Naing, where he continued as a porter. The porters were only given one little milk tin of rice per day between two people [an average villager eats 3 milk tins of rice per day himself]. While carrying heavy loads he fainted and collapsed, and a private from LIB 30 kicked him in the face with his army boot and broke three of his front teeth. He was a porter for 56 days, and says the loads he had to carry were unbearable.

 

U CCC— was walking with his child when he was captured as a porter by LIB 59. He was handed to LIB 60 and was sent to the frontline in Mu Theh-Byat Kaw area. Later he was handed to Maj Win Naing of LIB 30. He was a porter for 57 days, during which he says he was forced to work like a bullock, treated brutally in many ways and given almost nothing to eat. The usual load given to these men was 2 big tins of rice at a time. Eventually they couldn’t bear it anymore, ran away and found some Karen soldiers.

 

Interview: 85  HRV:  Execution, Forced Labour, Torture

 


Name:                   Maung DDD—

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       20

Occupation:         Shopkeeper

Address:                Bogalip Township, Pegu Division


 

 

I went to my sister’s small town which is along the way between Rangoon and Mandalay. When I arrived at the railway station to come back I was broke. A man camp up to me and offered me work at the sawmill for 60 Ks per day, so I agreed but I told him I would just work two or three days and then I wanted to go back home. He took me to Cho Kaung Village and put me in a building there. There were many other people there already. Somebody asked me, “Why are you here?” so I told them, “I just came to work in the sawmill,” but then they told me, “This place is for gathering porters, not for the sawmill.” The next morning, the police came in and took us to the police department. I tried to explain to them that I was just in the area to visit my sister, not to work, but nothing happened and the next day they sent us to Kyauk Kyi. I saw many porters there. Then the next day we arrived at IB 60 and we started to carry food supplies and ammunition to Byat Kaw. I carried rice sacks and sugar sacks. Along the way I slipped and fell down because I was very tired, and then the soldiers kicked me down the slope. It was very hard for me because I had such a heavy load, but eventually one of the officers dragged me back up onto the path again. Along the way one of my friends was shot dead by the soldiers, and they threw his body down into the valley, His name was Than Saw. I felt very sad. We had carried together and eaten together. Finally I escaped.

 

Interview: 86  HRV:  Detention, Forced Labour, Torture

 


Name:                   Saw Lah Ghay

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       30

Ethnicity:              Karen

Occupation:         Farmer

Address:                Kyauk Dagar Township, Pegu Division


 

 

I was arrested when I was shopping at Pado Palaw market and they sent me to Pane Ze Loke police lock-up. I spent two nights in the cell there, then they sent me on a truck to Kyauk Kyi. We slept one night in Kyauk Kyi, then I had to carry a load from there. It was so heavy that I slipped many times along the way, and I was beaten up and kicked. There was an old man who slipped and fell down on the path because of his very heavy load, and the soldiers dragged him and beat him up with a big stick. Finally he was just laying there silent. He was left there. There was nothing along the path, no protection from the rain for him and it was raining. I slept one night on the way, then the next morning they ordered me to collect firewood for cooking and I escaped.

 

I can tell you about other porters too. Six years ago, I knew a man called Kyaw Myint who was taken and never came back. Another was my brother-in-law Tin Myint, two years ago he was taken and never came back. He had four children. There was also Ko KaLar nearly three year ago, and Tint Swe two or three years ago, they also disappeared. They were from my wife’s home village.

 

Interview: 87  HRV:  Detention, Forced Labour, Torture

 


Name:                   Maung Than Htay

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       25

Family:                 Married with 2 children

Occupation:         Vendor on trains

Address:                Pa Nwe Gone Town, Pegu Division


 

 

When the train stopped at Nyaunglebin Station, I was on the train selling rice meals to the passengers. I was arrested by the police because I didn’t have a licence. [This is often used as and excuse to arrest people or extort money from them – SLORC authorities claim you must buy a “licence” to do most anything.] I slept two nights in the police lock-up, then they sent me to the porter group at IB 60 in Kyauk Kyi. We started to carry from there. My load weighed 15 or 20 viss (24 to 32 kg). We slept one night at Mu Thet, then one night at Neh Gya and then we went to Byat Kaw. We ate very little food each day. There was no curry and no salt, just rice sometimes with some yellow beans. There was not fighting on the way. I was beaten with a rifle butt, and the others were also beaten up by the solders. When we got to In Gone, they sent me to collect firewood and I escaped.

 

Interview: 88  HRV:  Detention, Forced Labour, Torture

 


Name:                   Maung Cho

Age:                       21

Family:                 Married

Occupation:         Tea-shop owner

Address:                Dagon New Satellite Town, Rangoon Division


 

 

I was just going to visit my wife’s elder brother. When I arrived at the railway station a policeman came up and arrested me and took me to the lock-up. Then the next morning I was sent to Kyauk Kyi and to IB 60, we slept one night there and the next day we had to carry loads. I was beaten up three times along the way. Many people got beaten up because we were so tired and couldn’t carry our loads. Some people tried to escape, and the soldiers shot them. These soldiers are not men, they are dogs. They only gave us 2 spoonfuls of rice to eat each day. Sometimes it wasn’t even cooked and we had to cook it ourselves. At night we had to sleep in the rain. On the way one of the soldiers tried to run away but he was caught by the other soldiers. Another two porters were caught too, and they were tied up with ropes and beaten up.

 

Interview: 89  HRV:  Forced Labour, Torture

 


Name:                   Maung Tint Swe

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       28

Family:                 Married

Address:                Kyauk Dagar Township, Pegu Division


 

 

I was arrested when I was fishing in the paddy field by the road, and they sent me to Kyauk Kyi. From there I had to carry food supplies for Coy 2 of IB 60 – the company commander’s name is Capt Than Win. My load weighed nearly 20 viss (32 kg) .We slept three nights on the way, and we went on until I escaped. There was no fighting along the way. When we got tired and we couldn’t go, they beat us up. I was kicked in my waist and on my head. We ate twice a day but it was very little, and it was never enough. Some porters got malaria and other sickness. Sometimes the soldiers gave them medicine, but sometimes nothing all. My shoulders and back were all wounded, so eventually I ran away.

 

Interview: 90  HRV:  Forced Labour, Torture

 


Name:                   EEE—

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       18

Ethnicity:              Burman

Religion:               Buddhist

Family:                 Single; Father, dead. He is an only child, and lives

                              with his mother

Occupation:         Trishaw driver

Address:                Gyobingauk Town, south of Prome, Pegu Division


 

 

[EEE— was encountered walking along a path in Nyaunglebin District by a human rights worker. His hometown is over 150 km to the west across the high Pegu Mountain Range.]

 

The police took me to be a porter, and they transferred me to 35 Infantry Battalion based in Tharrawaddy. At 35 Battalion they said, “You’re going to the Pegu Mountain Range”. But they didn’t stop there. The night of May 27 they took me on a truck, and we only arrived in Kyauk Kyi [on the other side of the Pegu Mountain Range] early the next morning. There were 10 of us going as porters. They kept us in the school in Kyauk Kyi, then brought us by a boat across the Sittang River and loaded on a truck again to Camp 60. We slept one night there, then the next day I had to carry four heavy shells, many bullets and one ration bag. There were about 400 porters, and the soldiers from 35 Infantry Battalion. One of the officers was Maj Soe Win – he’s a column commander.

 

We had to carry to Mu Thay, and we stayed about one month there [given the dates of his arrest and escape, his time in each camp may have been shorter than he estimates – but it probably seemed that long]. The soldiers weren’t fighting, they were only doing business. At Mu Thay the soldiers were opening a big shop so they were forcing all the porters to carry the goods for them to sell at their shop. They ordered us to cut bamboos, dig trenches, and do other kinds of basic labour every day. We only got to eat once every two days. If some traders came along and they knew some of the porters from Kyauk Kyi then they gave us some food.

 

After a month we left Mu Thay, and I had to carry a sack of rice as well as some cooked rice. Along the way there was a steep mountain called Hlan Hlan, and I couldn’t climb up with my sack of rice so they beat me with a bamboo stick three times on my back, then they hit me on the head twice with a gun. When we arrived at the top of that high mountain they only gave a little rice to each porter. I wasn’t satisfied so I went and demanded more, and Maj Win Ko from 35 Battalion punched me at the mouth and broke one of my teeth. After that we kept going and slept one night at Nay Kya Hill. From there we walked to Wah Ser Ko and stayed there nearly a week. We had to cut bamboos, make roofing, repair the buildings and barracks, and make huts for them. We had to carry big bamboos, and when I couldn’t carry them they beat me with a gun and the butt of a knife. Not only me – they beat everyone who couldn’t carry. Some of the old men who couldn’t keep up with us were beaten with guns by the soldiers. Then they used a knife to stab them in the arms and legs and kicked them down the mountainside. I saw them do this to three old men who were over 50.

 

When we left there we had to carry rations to Yah Ko, and we stayed over a month there. I said to Maung FFF— [see related interview 91], “If we stay with SLORC we’ll die, so we should escape.” So we escaped on July 25 at 4 a.m. We walked all day and just before nightfall we slept beside a stream. The next morning we walked along the stream. We thought if we didn’t run SLORC would catch us again and we’d die, so we ran even though we didn’t have the strength to run. Then we saw two buffaloes by the stream, so we knew there must be a village nearby and we decided to let the buffaloes guide us there. We followed them and finally we found a house. The people there gave us some food and we dried our clothes, then we set out walking again and met you.

 

SLORC tortured me and my body is injured all over. I’ll never forget this. I stayed with my mother and she’s very old, so I worked to get money and food to give to my mother. If she has died because I’ve been away then I don’t want to go back home. I’ll stay here and join the Revolution.

 

Interview: 91  HRV:  Forced Labour, Torture

 


Name:                   Maung FFF—

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       20

Ethnicity:              Burman

Religion:               Buddhist

Family:                 Single; parents still alive

Occupation:         Trishaw driver

Address:                Nattalin Town, south of Prome, Pegu Division


 

 

[Maung FFF— was encountered walking along a path together with EEE— (see related interview 90) in Nyaunglebin District by a human rights worker. His hometown is also over 150 km to the west across the high Pegu Mountain Range.]

 

On May 24, 1994, at 9 p.m., the police arrested me in a video theatre and sent me to 35 Infantry Battalion in Tharrawaddy. They put us on a truck all night long to Kyauk Kyi. When we arrived there we had to sleep one night, then we had to carry a basket and cross the Sittang River. After that, a truck came and carried us to Camp 60 and we slept there one night. Then they sent us to Mu Thay. On the way I had to carry a big basket that felt like it weighed more than 30 viss [48 kg]. There were about 300 porters there. As the soldiers are opening a big shop in in Mu Thay , we had to carry all the goods for the shop as well as the rations and ammunition for all the soldiers. They only gave us food once a day, sometimes only once every 2 days. It wasn’t enough for me.

 

In Mu Thay we stayed for nearly a month. We had to cut bamboo, make fences, dig trenches and make buildings. Then they sent us to Yah Ko. On the way I couldn’t climb Hlan Hlan Mountain, so one of the sergeants came and beat and kicked me. He beat me on my knees with a bamboo [Maung FFF— has a scar on his back from this beating]. We arrived at the Strategic Command hill. There were a battalion of soldiers there, and they said, “We’re going to release you”, but the next day they sent us to Yah Ko. After that they said they were going to send us to Plah Ko, so my friend and I decided that we should escape.

 

The soldiers slept on a platform while EEE— and I were tied to a stake in the ground. We worked at it and managed to undo the rope, and we escaped in the dark. Then we crossed the mountains and jungle in the rain until finally we arrived here.

 

Interview: 92  HRV:  Child, Execution, Forced Labour, Livelihood, Torture, Women

 


Name:                   Sai Naw Suk

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       30

Ethnicity:              Shan

Religion:               Buddhist

Occupation:         Farmer

Address:                Tachilek, previously from Mong Pyak,

                              eastern Shan State

Interviewed:         early August 1994


 

 

[Sai Naw Suk was taken as a porter for SLORC’s offensive against the MTA.]

 

I’m a farmer, but sometimes I go to Mong Hsu to buy rubies for trade. About two months ago I went to Mong Hsu and bought some rubies. While I was on my way back on a public car, I was arrested in Mong Pying [west of Kengtung]. All the travellers were searched and all their valuables, like jewellery and money, were robbed. The soldiers said we could come back later and ask for it back. So I lost all my rubies. Then they commandeered another car and put us on it. I was sent to Mong Hsat [west of Tachilek], then to Mong Tung, then to Na Gong Mu, and on to Mong Kyot by car [Mong Kyot is near the Salween River – it was the area of severe fighting at the time]. They took 51 of us, and there were many other similar groups. About 200 of us altogether were attached to IB 244. When we got to Mong Kyot, no people were there because they had already run away for their lives. SLORC soldiers shot the pigs, buffaloes, ducks, chickens, whatever they saw they shot and ate. Then we were taken into the hills as porters.

 

I was forced to carry artillery shells. The soldiers said all the villages were belong to the rebels, so they arrested the men and taken as porters and forced the women to sleep with them as comfort women. They killed all the villagers’ animals, and the people cried. The soldiers killed the people, even the children. Some children escaped but others were killed. I saw some new orphans as both of their parents were killed.

 

We only got a handful of boiled rice to eat, only once a day. At first it was twice a day and not as bad, but as soon as the fighting broke out, the meal turned into once a day and it wasn’t enough. I had to carry six 75mm shells at a time, each shell weighs 3 kg, so my load weighed about 18-20 kg. The scars still remain on my shoulders – at the time there were even worms in them. We weren’t given any medicine or treatment. People got sick, but when they asked for medicine they were hit with rifle butts.

 

When soldiers got sick or wounded, we had to carry them to their outpost. If people had money when they were arrested, SLORC took it, then when we were porters they beat those people badly all the time because they wanted them to die or flee. I myself was beaten because of this. There were two porters who were a bit deaf, so they didn’t hear the soldiers’ orders and one time they just kept walking when they were ordered to stop.

 

The soldiers thought they were trying to run away, so they shot at them and hit both of them in the leg above the ankle, breaking their legs. Then we had to carry them to the senior officer, the soldiers told him what happened and the two men were sent to the hospital for treatment. At the same time two other who thought they’d be shot too ran away but fell into a ditch, and both of them broke their knees. Then they were beaten and didn’t get any treatment because they’d tried to run away. They were beaten with rifle butts, then just left by the side of the path. I think they must have died.

 

One old man was very weak because he’d only been given a small meal every day. He got stomach trouble, so one night he unintentionally made some noise and the soldiers said, “You must not make noise or the enemy might know where we are”, but he was sick and he couldn’t help it. He made some more noise, and I saw them stuff some blankets in his mouth and then kick him down the mountainside. He was killed. I also saw with my own eyes four old men were beaten to death. They were from Mong Tun and Mong Hsat. They were too old and couldn’t carry heavy loads, so they were given duties fetching water and cooking rice for the soldiers. Then after the rice was cooked all of us were ordered to carry the rice up to the soldiers who were on the top of the mountain, and they told us we had one hour to get there. The rest of us made it up in time, but the four old men took an hour and 15 minutes to get to the top so the soldiers went wild. They beat the old men at the heads and all over their bodies, then left them laying there for a day. The next day they were all bruised and swollen and they couldn’t walk, so the soldiers beat them with rifle butts all over their bodies until their last breath. They beat those men to death. I was there and I myself saw it. I also saw some three porters wounded in battle, one in the forearm and two others in the shoulder. They were wounded very severely – the medics gave them saline intravenous transfusions and then sent one of them back to their Mong Pying outpost. The other two had to stay with us. Another time I saw three soldiers firing a big mortar, and the porters had to carry all the shells for them so there were about eight people there.

 

At about 8 p.m. that night one of the shells exploded right there, right near me. All three soldiers and five porters were killed. The next day when the officers came to examine the splinters, they said it was their own shell [probably a misfire]. I also saw planes bombing two or three times, very high and going very fast. The SLORC battalions in the fighting area are IB 329, 244, 333, and 65. I was with 244.

 

I was a porter for 40 days. Then one night SLORC launched a night attack and I had to carry shells. I was too afraid of the fighting, so I just dropped my load on the path, rolled down the hillside and ran away. I didn’t know where I was going, I just ran and ate whenever fruits I saw in the jungle. I was alone and I had no food for seven days. Sometimes I could hardly do more than crawl. Then I found a hut at one night so I slept there, and the next morning I walked through the fields and I saw some Thai soldiers. They asked me where I came from and why so. I told them I was a porter who ran from the SLORC troops. They sent me to Wat Wan Lan in Fang District [a Buddhist temple west of Mae Sai]. There were about 30 people there already, and food and supplies [from foreign donors]. After three days there they told us we had to go back. The Thai authorities wouldn’t listen to our pleas, they just told us we must go back, so we asked them if they would take us to the border near Tachilek. Four people came and took us to the border – one in uniform from the Immigration Department, one in military uniform, and two in civilian dress. There were 39 of us, and they took us in two trucks close to the border bridge to Tachilek and just told us to go across as we liked.

 

Now it’s been about 20 days since I escaped [meaning he escaped on 10 or 15 July]. Since I’ve been back in Tachilek SLORC haven’t bothered me, but one of my friends who was also there was arrested and questioned after getting back. They just questioned him about what he saw in the frontline, the number of casualties, etc. I don’t see them rounding up any porters in Tachilek right now, but I see soldiers guarding the perimeter of the town and along the road up to Mong Pyak. They’re guarding every bridge, and after 6 p.m. nobody can cross. In Tachilek, if Military Intelligence hears anyone talking about the situation or sees a group of more than three people sitting around, those people are arrested. People are angry. I was taken from my family to be a porter. We thought that as porters they’d treat us fairly and carry according to our strength, but now I’ve seen boys as young as 11 or 12 and old men of 50 or 60 forced to carry the same loads as the rest, and if they can’t carry it then they’re beaten or killed. SLORC don’t treat us as humans so we want to free ourselves of them, but there’s nothing we can do, just hope for help from other countries.

 

SLORC is stopping the Shan people from progressing either economically or politically. If they get involved with anything political SLORC arrests them. On the other hand, in areas SLORC controls you can grow opium, but you have to pay a tax and it’s not cheap. In the fields which aren’t very good or near the road, SLORC cuts down the poppies to show that they’re eradicating poppy, but if the field is good they just keep collecting the tax.

 

All of us, you can ask anybody, we only want justice, to be treated as human beings and to live in peace. We’ll accept anyone to govern us if they rule according to law and give us justice and peace. That’s all we want, because now our life is horrible.

 

We want to get rid of this SLORC administration because there’s no justice or rule of law. If you buy a house, the next day the government might come and confiscate it without any compensation and build a road. The farmland is confiscated from the farmers, and then they have to go and do forced labour in the fields.

 

The women are abused and they take people to be subjected to beatings, labour and serve in the military. Nobody gets any payment, we were just forced to serve them. They force everyone to give contributions but give nothing in return. Even if you go as a soldier in the SLORC Army you’ll only get one tin of rice for one month. And everyone else in society gets nothing at all.

 

Interview: 93  HRV:  Detention, Displacement, Execution, Forced Labour, Livelihood,

                                   Torture

 


Name:                   GGG—

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       37

Ethnicity:              Pa-O and Burman

Religion:               Christian

Family:                 Married with 1 boy and 3 girls

Occupation:         Farmer

Address:                Shwe Kyin Township, Pegu Division


 

 

[GGG— lives in a village in Shwekyin Township. He keeps detailed notes on events in the area, and his knowledge of the events he describes is mostly first hand. He has already left his village.]

 

On July 11, troops from Kyauk Kyi, 1st Column of IB 60, Column Commander Maj Tin Aye, came to Wah Boh Daun Village. They sat down there and watched over the road. They stayed there for two days.

 

On July 13, Maung Way, Hla Khine and Myint Oo from Ba Day Gone Village were on their way home from Kwee Oo Town so they met this column near Wah Boh Daun. The troops arrested them and searched them. They found 12,000 Ks in Maung Way’s pockets and they took it. The troops said to the men, “You have contact with rebels, and you went to sell cattle to them.” They took the men away to IB 350 Camp at Bo Ka Hta and arrived there at 4 p.m. They put Hla Khine and Myint Oo in leg stocks [these are like mediaeval European leg stocks, where the victim sits with his legs straight out in front of him and both ankles clamped between two horizontal lengths of wood, or in this case bamboo], while they tied Maung Way up with rope, beat and interrogated him, saying, “You’re a black marketeer. Who else in your village works with you?” Maung Way said, “I don’t know. I’m not a black marketeer.” So they beat him again until his head was cut open and he couldn’t bear it any longer. He was so afraid that they would beat him again that he said, “Bee Li and Soe Myint are also black marketeers.” Then they put Maung Way in the leg stocks.

 

Later that day at 6 p.m. a section from IB 60 went and surrounded Bee Li’s house, but Bee Li wasn’t there. They only found his wife Daw Pyone Kyi and they asked her, “Where is your husband?” She answered, “He went to Shwekyin to buy things”, so they took Daw Pyone Kyi to the place where they were holding the three men, and they also took four of her buffaloes. When they got there they put Daw Pyone Kyi in the leg stocks like the others. They kept them all there for four days and during that time they also arrested five more people; Soe Myint, Nyunt Htay, Pu Tu Lay, Shan Hla Myint, and Ma Mi Ohn [female]. On July 16 Myint Htay, Pu Tu Lay, Shan Hla Myint and Ma Mi Ohn were interrogated and then freed from the stocks but the soldiers still kept them there under house arrest.

 

Soe Myint wasn’t freed from the stocks. On July 17, Bee Li arrived home from Shwegyin. As soon as he got home he found out his wife had been arrested so he went to the camp. When he got there the troops arrested Bee Li and released his wife. At 7 p.m. they took Bee Li from the leg stocks, interrogated and beat him and pushed his head underwater. It was a diabolical thing to do, because his face was already badly injured from their beatings.

 

On the same day, July 17, Soe Myint and Maung Way were taken to Wa Boh Daun as guides for 1st Column of LIB 350, with nearly 100 troops led by Column Commander Maj Hla Myint. On July 18 there was no news of them, but on July 19 at 10 a.m. these troops stabbed Soe Myint and Maung Way to death with a knife. A porter who was with the troops was an eyewitness and later described it to the villagers. He also said that the Column Commander had given a special order to the porters: “We have killed these two guides but you must never tell anybody about this.”

 

On July 19 at 2 p.m., IB 349 troops commanded by Capt Than Zin came from Shwekyin to take Bee Li to a camp south of Ba Day Gone. On July 20 they stabbed him to death at the east of Myin Thay Gone in the Nga Bwa Sho Stream Valley, only about one mile from Ba Day Gone. That day the same troops then went to Baw Tha Zin to wait for the enemy.

 

On July 21 at Bo Ka Hta Camp, there was an argument between officers from LIB 350 and IB 60 over who would get the 4 buffaloes they had stolen from Bee Li’s house. I don’t know the result, but the next day IB 60, 1st Column Commander Mar Tin Aye left to drive these 4 buffaloes to Kyauk Kyi at about 9 a.m.

 

On the way one of the buffaloes ran away and went back to Ba Day Gone Village. When Bo Ka Hta Camp Commander Capt Myo Min Than heard about this, he sent an order to Bee Li’s son saying, “You must come and bring this buffalo back to Bo Ka Hta Camp.” Bee Li’s son Myo Myo was very afraid, and he was crying while he took that buffalo to them. Capt Hla Nyunt from LIB 350 then took it to the battalion at Shwekyin.

 

Maung Way was 36; his father was U Than Pe and his mother Daw Mweh Yee. He was a Burman Buddhist day labourer. His wife is Daw Kyi Win and they have two children. Soe Myint was 37, son of U Chit Dee and Daw Thein. He was a Burman Buddhist farmer with five boys and one girl. His wife is Daw Ohn Myint. Bee Li was 45. His father was U Maung Maung, his mother Daw Pan. He was a Karen Buddhist, and he farmed along the riverbank. His wife is Daw Pyone Kyi, and they have five children.

 

He was arrested on July 17 and murdered on July 20. Now his family’s in a terrible situation. His sons are always crying and just wandering the village. His wife feels terrible because her husband is dead, but she can’t even talk about it openly with the other villagers because of the Column Commander’s order. She couldn’t even go to retrieve his body.

 

This is injustice and oppression. These men lived in their village and everyone knew they were just honest people minding their own business. SLORC said they were black marketeers, but this is wrong, I can guarantee it. These men never did that. But they’re not the only victims SLORC has murdered – they’re always committing arbitrary killings like that. When they come to the village they kill and eat our chickens, ducks, pigs and cows. They demand porters, and if they don’t get porters then they demand money. We can’t even count all their abuses. So now if the troops come everybody runs away from the village. Then if SLORC meets someone who’s run from the village hiding in the jungle they say, “You’re a rebel”, and arrest, beat and kill him. They’re not rebels, they’ve just run away from the village because they’re afraid of SLORC. The troops at Bo Ka Hta Camp have their own style. Every day they make each village send eight people for “emergency sentry duty”. When they need porters or guides they use these people. This has been going on since 1984, right up until now. They also demand money, call people for forced labour, and now they’re forcing everyone to build fences to protect their camp.

 

After SLORC falls, the civilians will have peace and we can stay in our homes and do our jobs. Ba Day Gone Village had 200 houses until now. After they killed the three men, the Bo Ka Hta Camp commander said, “This is an example for you. We’re going to have to arrest some other people in your village too.” So a lot of people, especially the men, have all fled the village. Nobody knows who they’ll arrest next.

 

Interview: 94  HRV:  Execution, Forced Labour, Livelihood, Torture

 


Name:                   Kler Eh Mo

Sex:                       Female

Age:                       48

Ethnicity:              Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Occupation:         Farmer  

Address:                Pa-an Township, Karen State


 

 

They never even ask us for our livestock. They just take it like it was their own. Their Coy 5 commander, Capt Thein Zar, makes us give jaggery again and again. They demanded 1,000 bundles of jaggery and paid us 18 Ks for each, then they sold them back to the village for 24 Ks each. They forced us to buy them.

 

They make us do four kinds of labour; guarding the road, portering, couriers, and other slave labour. They take 4 people at a time as porters, 8 for guarding the road, 8 for slave labour, and 2 for couriers; 22 altogether. Sometimes they demand people to cut wood, at least 12 people at once. Because of this, one time we could only send four people to guard the road, and they said, “If you can’t send the people we ask, we will burn down your village and loot everything you have.” When we go to guard the road, during the day we have to collect firewood, carry water, and sweep the road. Then at night we have to make a fire and sleep on the road.

 

Whenever they enter the village they catch our livestock without permission, and if they suspect any villagers they torture them and take them to the military outpost. They beat and punched Maung Win and his face was bleeding, and they stabbed Kyaw Thaung with a knife. Then they took both of them away as porters. After a few days, the village head vouched for them and the soldiers demanded a ransom of 40 small tins of rice for the two of them. Because of this, all of the men are especially afraid to stay in the village when SLORC is coming. They all try to run away, and when SLORC sees them they shoot at them. They’ve come and shot up our village before, and all the people run. They hit one village man named Saw C— [see related interview 16], and then accused him of being a Karen soldier. When the soldiers came he was in his field, and when he tried to run to the village they shot him. The bullet hit his thigh. This happened on 27 December 1993. Whenever they torture villagers, they just accuse them of being Karen soldiers, but they are just doing it for absolutely no reason. They arrested and killed two other villagers but nobody saw it, the men just disappeared. One of them was Maung Htun Bwah – they killed him by mistake instead of Maung Htun Oo, who is a Karen soldier. The other was Maung Than Chay. He was just a civilian, and he vouched for Maung Htun Bwah. Then they killed Maung Htun Bwah and took money from him. They thought if they released Maung Than Chay he would cause problems for them by telling people, so they accused him of being on the Karen side and killed him too. Both of them had families.

 

Interview: 95  HRV:  Execution, Livelihood, Movement

 


Name:                   Naw Htoo Baw   

Sex:                       Female

Age:                       27          

Ethnicity:              Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Occupation:         Farmer

Address:                Pa-an Township, Karen State


 

 

The Burmese [SLORC] killed my husband. His name was Htun Bwah, and he was 25 years old. He was a Buddhist Karen farmer. We have two children. I only know one of the soldiers: Nyo Soe Min. He is Coy 1 commander. Another commander’s name is Thet Naing Oo, from Coy 3.

 

They arrested my husband on 5 February 1994 at the sugar cane field and they killed him on 17 February. It was soldiers from LID 99, IB 84. They saw seven villagers in the sugar cane field so they arrested them. They killed two of them – my husband and one other. The soldiers killed them because they accused them of collaborating with Karen soldiers. But the real reason was that they saw money on them so they killed them to get the money. One of the men’s names was Maung Than Chay. He tried to vouch for my husband and the others so the soldiers killed him. All of the men had papers from the village headmen [SLORC appoints a village “headman” (not the same as the real headman), usually against his will, and this man is them authorised to issue movement papers to his villagers verifying who they are] and they showed the papers to the soldiers, but the soldiers didn’t even look at the papers and just tore them up. After they killed my husband they stole 30,000 Ks from him.

 

Interview: 96  HRV:  Execution, Livelihood

 


Name:                   Naw May Oo Paw

Sex:                       Female                 

Age:                       40

Ethnicity:              Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Family:                 Married with 1 daughter

Occupation:         Farmer

Address:                Pa-an Township, Karen State


 

 

My husband’s name was Maung Than Chay. He was 46 years old. We have one daughter, and I also had one miscarriage. The man who killed my husband is Nyo Soe Min, the company commander from IB 84, LID 99. He arrested my husband at KKK— on 5 February, when he was cooking jaggery. He killed him on 17 February. They arrested seven men altogether, and killed two – my husband and Maung Htun Bwah from KKK—, Maung Htun Bwah came to our village to make jaggery. He owned the equipment, so the villagers were using it to make jaggery and paying money to him. SLORC found Maung Htun Bwah at the jaggery mill with a notebook that listed the villagers’ names, how much jaggery they each made and how much they had paid him. So SLORC arrested him, accused him of being a Karen soldier and said the list was to collect jaggery for the Karen army. Then my husband tried to explain that Maung Htun Bwah was not a soldier but the owner of the mill. He pleaded and vouched for Maung Htun Bwah. But the soldiers didn’t listen – they said, “You two are together. You are just trying to protect him.” And later they killed both of them at the same time. They cut Maung Htun Bwah’s throat and they stabbed my husband in the chest.

 

After we heard the news, we went and tried to find where they’d buried the bodies, but we didn’t find them. How could we find them? We don’t even know where they’re buried. We were just told how they were killed by a SLORC militiaman from LLL—.

 

Interview: 97  HRV:  Detention, Execution, Livelihood, Torture

 


Name:                   Saw Win Nay     

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       30

Ethnicity:              Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Occupation:         Farmer  

Address:                Pa-an Township, Karen State

 

Name:                   Maung Tin Win 

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       18

Ethnicity:              Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Occupation:         Farmer  

Address:                Pa-an Township, Karen State

Name:                   Kyaw Htay          

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       25

Ethnicity:              Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Occupation:         Farmer  

Address:                Pa-an Township, Karen State

 

Name:                   Saw Ler Doh       

Sex:                       Male     

Age:                       16

Ethnicity:              Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Occupation:         Farmer  

Address:                Pa-an Township, Karen State


 

 

Saw Win Nay:    

 

The soldiers who arrested us were from LID 99, IB 84. The officer who arrested us is Nyo Soe Min. He is company commander. We were arrested by two groups of soldiers – the other company commander’s name is Thet Naing Oo. They arrested seven of us while we were cooking jaggery. They arrested all of us together, on 5 February 1994. They released five of us later, on 23 February, but they killed the other two. The men they killed were Maung Htun Bwah and Maung Than Chay. After they arrested us they tied us up, then beat our heads and forearms, and they made us bite on M79 grenades and then acted like they were going to make them explode [the M79 grenades he describes are normally shoulder-fired from an M79 grenade launcher about the size of a sawed-off rifle]. Then they beat me on my head with the M79 grenade launcher, and they poked us all over with knives until our clothes were full of holes. They cut through our clothes and drew just a little blood. They poked me in my back, legs and face. From me they demanded 5 bowls of rice, two chickens, and 500 Ks, then they released me.

 

Saw Ler Doh:

 

For me they asked Thukita cheroots, alcohol, and I don’t know what else because my sister had to give it to them.

 

Maung Tin Win:

 

I had to give 1 chicken, 1 packet of jaggery and 1 viss of pork.

 

Kyaw Htay:

 

If I include all the money they’ve taken from me until now, about 2,000 Ks. I also had to give one pig weighing about 10 viss [16 kg].

 

Saw Win Nay:

 

The soldiers also made every young man in our village shave his head. They didn’t tell us why, they just said, “There are so many fleas in your hair. If you shave you’ll be different from Karen soldiers. If you don’t then you’re a Karen soldier.” They only did this in our village.

 

Then they took us as porters and we had to carry most of their supplies, tinned milk, sardines and cooking pots. They never treated us well – most of the time we just got rice and salt to eat two times a day, and it was never enough. Sometimes they gave one spoonful of beans for each person. The soldiers ate well, and when we sometimes caught fish to eat they even took those from us and didn’t give them back. They also made us do porter work whenever we were guarding the road for them.

 

Interview: 98  HRV:  Livelihood, Relocation, Torture

 


Name:                   Naw Ler Htoo

Sex:                       Female  

Age:                       28

Ethnicity:              Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Occupation:         Farmer  

Address:                Pa-an Township, Karen State


 

 

Maj Kyaw Shwe ordered us to move. He is a commander from IB 38. He said we had to move because there had been fighting in our village, but I’m sure there was no fighting there, only very far away. They gave us three days to move out of the village and said that after that, if they see anyone in the village they’ll shoot them on sight. We had to move to MMM— [alongside an existing village]. We asked if we could move to a better place instead, but they refused and we had to go to the place they’d ordered. This happened on 26 August 1993. We could only take some of our things with us. Most of our rice and other things had to be left behind. Later they allowed us to go back to get it, but only during the daytime. It was two hours’ walk. It was rainy season so it was very hard to travel and we couldn’t go back every day. When we got back, a lot of our things had disappeared; most of the planks from our houses and all of our livestock were gone. It was terrible, and it never stopped raining, and I cried and cried. I don’t want to stay in the new place, I want to go home. But we can’t because the soldiers are patrolling around there all the time, and if they see anyone they grab them, punch them and beat them. They beat my 18-year-old brother NNN— one time until his nose was bleeding. Another villager went back and tried to sleep one night in the old village, and the soldiers captured him, tied him up and tortured him all night. Now we face the problem of starvation because we can’t work on our farms, we can’t do anything. We don’t have enough clothes. We don’t know how to make a living in the new place, but we can’t dare go back to our old place either.

 

No one can resist them, because everyone is afraid to die. Our lives now are just work in the morning to eat in the evening, surviving hand-to-mouth. Now I need to buy a new sarong but I can’t. We all feel deeply humiliated and small in the new place, because we see the people from the village with new clothes while we don’t even have a change of clothes. The village head there feels sorry for us, so whenever SLORC orders forced labour he gets his villagers to go instead of us.

 

Interview: 99  HRV:  Forced Labour, Livelihood, Relocation

 


Name:                   Naw Heh

Sex:                       Female

Age:                       30

Ethnicity:              Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Occupation:         Farmer  

Address:                Pa-an Township, Karen State


 

 

SLORC ordered us to move on 21 December 1993. I don’t know why. Maj San Lin from IB 84 of LID 99 forced us to move to OOO—, and wouldn’t allow us to go anywhere else. After that he and his troops left for three months, then the same troops came back with a new major whose name I don’t know.

 

There were 15 houses in our village. Here at the new place, we don’t know how to work or survive. It’s very hard to provide for our families. In the daytime we can go work at our old farms, but they won’t allow us to sleep there so we have to be back here before dark. Our farms are far from here, so we don’t have time to do all the work to grow a crop. Our old village is also the closest place we can get firewood. My house here is just a temporary shelter, and it’s already starting to fall down.

 

Even so, SLORC still asks us for things all the time. They ask for pork, and if we don’t have it we have to pay for it. When their truck exploded they demanded 60,000 Ks from the big village here, so their village head asked us to help them and we had to pay 4,000. We also have to guard the road.

 

Interview:100 HRV:  Displacement, Execution, Forced Labour, Torture

 


Name:                   Pa Li Kloh

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       25

Ethnicity:              Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Family:                 Married with two children (age 4 and ?)

Occupation:         Farmer

Address:                Hlaing Bwe Township, Karen State


 

 

There used to be 150 families in my village, but so many have left that now there are only 20 families. Everyone left because we had to work for SLORC most of the time. They made us build a car road and then we had to go guard the road for at least 10 or 20 days at a time. If we didn’t go , they came to the village to beat us. All the families left separately – some went to Rangoon, some to other cities. I arrived here two days ago because I couldn’t suffer it any longer. I was beaten up by soldiers myself.

 

We had to work on the road they are making from Meh Tha Wah to Shwegun. [Shwegun is on the Salween River between Pa-an and Ka Ma Maung. This road cuts to the northeast about 70 km, through steep mountains to Meh Tha Wah, a remote position on the Thai border which SLORC captured from the Karen in 1989. The only purposes of this road are as a military supply line against the Karen headquarters area.] We had to work on the road about 10 days at a time, sometimes 11 or 12 days, then after one or two days at home we had to go do more work for them. At least 20 people from our village had to go each time – one from each family. The soldiers sent a letter to the headman and he had to obey. We had to carry rocks and load them on a truck [at the river side], then they took them away to the place where we were building the road. There were about 200 or 300 of us from various villages working together in one group. At night we all had to sleep on the ground in the bushes. There were no good leaves around to make a shelter, so we had to sleep in the open. They let us rest on Saturday and Sunday, but the other days we had to work day and night. They never let us rest in the daytime. We had to work hard. We had to bring our own food. They didn’t give us breakfast, there was no break for lunch, and we had to work at least until sunset. The soldiers gave us hoes, and we had to bring our other tools from home. The soldiers guarded us all the time, even at night. They are from IB 338 and 339. Some soldiers would allow us to take short breaks, but others wouldn’t. If you kept working you weren’t beaten, but those who couldn’t work were beaten. One person was so seriously beaten up that we had to carry him to hospital. Some people have permanent scars from the beatings. I was beaten at the road once because some of us came with some things to sell, but they wouldn’t allow it. They caught us and beat us. They kicked me and hit my face and I fell down. They put bullets in their hands and hit us with them. After the beating I got a rest, then I had to go and work again. I also saw them beat Dee Si Po. They made him carry a heavy load, then they beat him with the top of an iron bar. They kicked him with big boots, and he fell down and died. There were also two men who got fever and couldn’t get up, so the soldiers kicked them and left them there. The other villagers picked them up and carried them home, and later those two men died. I don’t know their names because they were from other villages. Other people also got sick with diarrhoea, but the soldiers wouldn’t give any medicine. One time, some people died from the diarrhoea. We buried the dead bodies.

 

The soldiers also made us plant trees – we had to plant cashew trees, bay ta kah trees and also flowering trees along the roadsides to make it look nice. We had to plant in a strip about 150 feet wide alongside the road [the cashew trees are probably for military profit, and the villagers will be forced to harvest the cashews, while the other trees appear to be decorative. It seems that SLORC is using the roadside land as a convenient place for money – making tree plantations]. We had to level the ground as much as we could by digging and filling up depressions. There were about 600 or 700 of us, and we had to plant for 10 days. Each village was given at least 2,000 or 3,000 trees to plant. If any of them got broken, they fined us 50 Ks per tree. If any of the trees we planted died, we had to pay to replace them and plant them again. They beat people who weren’t working on the back and legs with a stick, but not too hard. One time they beat a man with a big stick until he was bleeding and so sick that we had to carry him back to his village. It was far from our village, and we had to sleep where we worked.

 

People from big families could take turns going for all this labour, but people from small families have to go themselves all the time. They have no voice. We had to go as porters – I had to go twice to carry ammunition and supplies from Hlaing Bwe to Meh Taree [a frontline camp at the Thai border]. We don’t dare refuse to do the labour, so we have to drop everything and go work for them. Sometimes we have to borrow money and food from others, because we would get in deep trouble if we didn’t go for forced labour. We couldn’t even sleep at night, because they always forced us to go guard the road for them. The soldiers also demanded money and livestock, and sometimes they took our cattle. The road isn’t finished yet, and all of us who live near it have to work on it in rainy season as well as hot season. We couldn’t take it anymore. We came here to try to find a secure place to stay. It took us three nights along the way. Now we have no choice, we’ll just have to stay here. We won’t go back until things get better.

 

Interview:101 HRV:  Displacement, Forced Labour, Livelihood, Torture

 


Name:                   Naw Eh Shee       

Sex:                       Female

Age:                       23          

Ethnicity:              Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Family:                 Married with 2 sons (age 4 and 2)

Occupation:         Farmer

Address:                Hlaing Bwe Township, Karen State


 

 

I came here two weeks ago. In our village, we have no time to provide for our families because we are working for SLORC most of the time. Whenever they want people for slave labour they ask the village head. Sometimes we didn’t go, and then the soldiers came to the village and grabbed people. They forced us to provide road security for them. We had to sweep the road [for mines] all the time and then we had to guard the road at night. Sometimes when we were there to guard the road, they also forced us to carry loads for them in the daytime, and when we couldn’t carry anymore they beat us. Then at night we still had to guard the road. We couldn’t suffer this any longer. If we couldn’t go for labour, we had to hire someone else to go in our place and it cost 450 Ks. This happened all the time, until we couldn’t pay anymore and we couldn’t work in our fields anymore. They even forced us to work for them during harvest time. That’s why we came here.

 

Whether you had men or only women in your household, one person always had to go. We also had to go as porters to carry ammunition from Ler Cho to Noh Da Ya. We had to go as messengers, and many other kinds of work. At the army camp we women had to carry the bamboo that the men had cut down. We had to build the soldiers’ huts, dig their trenches and raise the ground level. Many women had to go, and many of them had serious troubles. They had to leave their babies behind at home. Sometimes they asked for permission to go home, but the soldiers would only let them if a man was sent to replace them. Nobody dared go home without asking the soldiers – unless they said we could go, we couldn’t go. I don’t know their officers’ names, because they kept changing them all the time.

 

There used to be 80 or 90 houses in my village, but so many people have already left. Many families have come here. My sister came first, and I followed her because we couldn’t suffer all their forced labour anymore and we couldn’t provide for our families. Each family also had to pay 400 Ks porter fees twice every month. We had no choice but to come.

 

Interview:102 HRV:  Displacement, Forced Labour, Livelihood, Refugees, Slavery,

                                  Torture

 


Name:                   Saw Hla Maung

Sex:                       Male

Age:                       37          

Ethnicity;              Pwo Karen

Religion:               Buddhist

Family:                 Married with 7 children (age 1 to 20)

Occupation:         Farmer

Address:                Hlaing Bwe Township, Karen State


 

 

In my village I fed my children by working my field, but now I have no farm to work. I had to pay porter fees so I had to sell my field. My father lived by working the fields, and my grandmother gave me that field, but I had to sell it to get the money. I have three brothers, and my grandmother gave us one field each. We all sold our fields at the same time, last year. We got 30,000 Ks altogether. Since then I had to work the fields for others as a labourer, but only got 10 or 20 Ks a day and all that went to porter fees. I couldn’t support my family that way so I came here. After I sold the field I had nothing anymore.

 

The soldiers asked different amounts each time for porter fees – some house have to pay 300 Ks and others have to pay 700 [depending on how much money they have], sometimes I had to pay 200 Ks and sometimes 500. We have to send the money to Lu Pleh, but we don’t know how they use it. Sometimes we have to go with them as porters as well. When I could I gave money instead of going, but if I couldn’t pay I had to go myself. They made me carry rice and bullets from Pa Khay Kwee to Kaw Thu Kee for over 10 days each time. One time when we arrived at Pa Khay Kwee the soldiers went to the village, caught some chickens and told me to kill them. I refused because the hens had a lot of little chicks, so they beat me on the head with a bayonet handle. We couldn’t escape, because if we did the soldiers would torture the head of our village when they got back.

 

The soldiers also make us plant rice for them. The soldiers come to our village and collect seed grain. Then they make us come and get the seed grain from them, and we have to plant it for them. Then when the seedlings grow we have to go and transplant them into the paddies. The soldiers don’t have their own fields. So they make us go plant it in the fields of villagers. The soldiers say, “After we get our harvest you can use your fields for yourselves.” But if we plant paddy then, we won’t get a harvest. [Rice must be planted in early rainy season and ripens after rainy season. Without sophisticated irrigation it is only possible to grow one crop a year.]

 

Even so we still have to give our rice to the soldiers. We have to give them 1 big sack [100 kg] of rice for every acre of land, and those who have no land have to give them money – 300 or 400 Ks for every acre they used to have. The soldiers stay in their camp and order the villagers to bring food to them, and if the villagers don’t then the soldiers come and take chickens and other things. They send orders to the village head. Sometimes we have to send them chickens and things, sometimes we have to go work for them. If we don’t have the chickens they want, we have to give them money. We are near the army camp so they always force us to go and do everything for them. We have to give money, go as porters and to build roads, and we have to go and make fences for them, clear all the scrub around their camp, replace their leaf roofing, dig their bunkers, etc. To build fences we have to make wooden posts, split bamboo, sharpen bamboo spikes and plant them between the posts. Sometimes they make us work from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. then if we don’t finish the work they make us come back again the next day. It’s two hours on foot to their camp. They built their camp around a pagoda. They order villagers to go there and work for them every day, and if we are too tired to go they come to point their guns at us and threaten us.

 

My wife and one child stayed behind for now, but the rest of our family came here. It took us three days to walk, because some of our children are very small so they kept getting tired and crying. We came quickly so we wouldn’t meet any soldiers on the way. We didn’t bring anything – one or two sarongs, but no plates or anything, and just 1 small pot. So many people from the village have come out here already, to Sho Kloh, Beh Klaw, etc. [refugee camps in Thailand]. The village used to have 50 houses, but now only 25 are left. We arrived here earlier this month. Other want to come now as well. The village head says, “If you don’t have money to pay the soldiers, you’d better go.” We don’t dare tell the Burmese soldiers we’re leaving. If they were around here we wouldn’t have dared to come. I want to go on to Thailand, but will they allow us?

 

Interview:103 HRV:  Displacement

 


Name:                   U PPP—

Age:                       54

Ethnicity:              Burman

Religion:               Buddhist

Family:                 Married with 7 children (age 14 to 27)

Occupation:         Farmer

Address:                Zee Gone Village, Kyauk Kyi Township,

                              Pegu Division


 

 

I, U PPP—, and my family of 9 people had lived and worked peacefully as farmers in Zee Gone Village, Kyauk Kyi Township since 1939. But my son Maung QQQ—, his heart full of revolution, joined the KNLA and is serving in their 3rd Brigade. On 27 April 1993, a battle broke out between my son’s company and the Burma Army’s [SLORC’s] Coy 48 in the fields of Dike Pone Village. My son dropped his national ID card at the battle site.

 

Capt Aung Kyaw, commander of Coy 2, LIB 48 got his ID card and found out the names of his parents. He then alleged that we are an “insurgent household”. Realising our danger in advance, we went into hiding. While we were in hiding Capt Aung Kyaw came to our house and forcefully stole my bicycle, 4 aluminium pots, 4 new blankets, 2 new longyis, 9 steel spoons, one cleaver knife, two chickens and one tiger-head brand flashlight. He also made threat that “This family won’t have it easy if find them.” In fear of what he would do to us, our family fled to the liberated area controlled by 3rd Brigade of the KNLA and we are now living as refugees. To certify that the above story is true, I hereby sign my name below.

 

[Sd.]

                                                                                                                                                     

U PPP—