Independent Mon News Agency

News and Current Affairs Update from Mon State, Burma

(A special feature story of the year)

1-16 April 2003

 

News:

DKBA Plans For New Controlled Areas in Mon State

No ID Cards For Mon People

Armed Clash between Karen and Burmese Troops

Prostitutes In Thavoy City

Editorial:

The Mon Politics After President Shwe Kyin

Current Affairs:

Soldiers Make Laws in Burma:

Editor’s Note: About Us

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DKBA Plans for New Controlled Areas in Mon State

March / Ye

Over a hundred of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army’s soldiers have arrived to an area near to Say Taung Pagoda in Northern Ye Township for a plan to extend large controlled area, local people said.

A troop as known “Myaing Kyi Ngu” now has built a Buddhist temple and religious tower near the pagoda as claims that it is only for promoting of Buddhist religion, local source added.

The troop also requested for voluntary labor from local community regardless any races including Karen people.

According local resident, the DKBA troop gives a reason for promoting Buddhist religious affair but the troop is seeking for a personal benefit to cut and sale timber in the area. A local man from Ye town said, it is a potential of conflict of interest between the Mon troop and the DKBA troop as they operate very close location. The potential clash may spread unexpected violation in the future, he added.

According local source, the Burmese troop ignored the activities but closely watched the development of the daily movement of Buddhist Karen Army.

“It is a tactic of Burmese army to create a clash between the Karen and Mon” local political observer said who asked no to be named.

Local people also have concerned activities of the DKBA troop in the area where they have no place to seek legal claim for any wrongdoing in the village, villagers said.

 

No ID Cards For Mon People

Mudon / 24 March

Burmese authority in Mudon Immigration Department refused to issue an Identity Card for local Mon people who could not speak good Burmese language.

Officers from Mudon Immigration Department did not accept applications from local Mon people who could not speak good Burmese and forced them to return home, the source said.

“We can’t speak fluent Burmese language because we are not native Burman a Man from Nhee Padaw village whom was refused to receive an ID card said.

“It is a discrimination to us,” he said with frustration. They (Burman) never show us good wills, he added.

Despite majority population has Birth Certificate Census (family members list) issued by the authority, the Mon people born after 1988 now faces a problem to become citizenship of Burma by neural.

Some people have paid from Kyat 30000-50000 to receive an ID card if they have involved in pro-democracy movement in 1988, the source said. A few people were not allowed to register for a Certificate of Birth Census if they are found that involved an anti-government activity. The previous ID cards holders were marked as “Burman” nationality at their documents despite they were Mon race.

 

Armed Clash between Karen and Burmese Army

March 30 / Ye

An armed clash between Burmese and Karen Army took place near Nhan Sone village in Ye Township. Soldiers from Karen National Union were searching goods to local vehicle between Nhan Sone and San Pya villages while the Burmese IB No (588) patrolling in the jungle route.

According to driver from the Ye- Moulmein Highway, the KNU army was preparing to occupy goods from ten passengers in an ordinary vehicle, a Burmese army started to fire and it last about twenty minutes. In March 28, soldiers from KNU has stopped a local vehicle at Kaning Kamoh village and asked for security cost from the driver, the source said.

A conductor from the Ramanya Transportation Ltd said, a mini-track is imposed for Kyat 100000.00 and a private small car is Kyat 50000.00 for security protection on the route. If the owners failed to comply an order, their vehicles would be burned down, the KNU army treated.

The clash on 28 March killed a child of six- year old and a soldier from the Burmese army but the story has not released to local community, the conductor added. Burmese IB No (106) and (558) have stationed in the areas along the highway route. After the attack took place, the Burmese troop remains in a shame to the anti-government force, local villager from Moh Ka Ning said.

A driver said it is commonly understandable that the KNU asks for security covering cost as they are anti-government troop. But now they behave like Burmese army for hi-jacking passers is not acceptable. “I am so disappointed for the event,” he said.


Prostitutes In Thavoy City

April 1 / Thavoy

Thavoy City is a place of young -girls prostitutes that opens with a deal of local Burmese authority, local transportation staff said.

Two local beer -drinking shops are crowded daily where a near hostel is a home of sex workers, he said. It is located near the Laung Lone transportation place.

According a source close to a sex worker, a local Burmese authority makes a deal with No (19) Burmese Military Operation that imposed the dealers for Kyat 500000.00 per month for an illegal business.

The Imperial Beer Shop has about eighteen girls from Rangoon and other part of cities who work on the tables. Most girls are at the age between 18-20, the source said.

Sex customers who enjoy drink in the shop have extra opportunity in touching girls during serving a table. Table serving girls have contracted for Kyat 50000.00 up to four months employment. If an employee breaks a contract, she is fined up to for four months repayment to the employer, local source said.

“I thought at the first hand that I am just for serving table but now I myself become a dish for the customers with sexual harassment” a young girl from Twin Tay said. “I want to return home but I can’t afford to pay the employer for fine,” she said.

Most customers are local authority but some times strangers who behave badly. However, table girls must serve as instructed by the boss. The boss abuses them if they failed to take any instructions, a table -serving girl said.

According to ticket sale staff for local transportation, there are two sex dealers in town and they control over forty prostitutes in town. As they made a deal with local authority, they can openly operate the business publicly, he added.

Sex workers receive Kyat 2000.00 per customer but they only earn 1/3 of cash while dealers takes double amount of cash from their bodies.

 

Editorial:

The Mon Politics After President Shwe Kyin

A Man with one flag who began his journey to old Monland, Pegu now has followed to his former colleagues in March this year after the New Mon State Party denounced he is death in Moulmein, the capital city of Mon State. President Nai Shwe Kyin locally a well known as “A Jar Nhog- Great Teacher” left only his flag to his party and the army in the jungle between Thai-Burma southern border. Over hundred of thousands his fellow men and women now asked the faith of Mon politics and his dream to form a “New Mon State” as he has yet reached destination for his long walk journey to Monland.

A few Burmese authority, especially Military top brass have reported that they are quite delighted as they assume now it is no one is dare to challenge them both politically and intellectually among the Mon politicians. However, as many of his fellow men and women including Mon military personnel have committed to continue the same path for the journey, it is so earlier to celebrate “happy day” for Burmese military authority.

For better or for worse, the New Mon State Party led by new President Nai Mr Htin has reshuffled his politburo at the end of March with a new look to meet the need for Mon political environment both locally and nationally. As a few young generations (who jointed force late 1962) have reached top jobs in the party’s executive as well as military affairs that turned the party’s politics in a new image. After over fifty years in political life as well as civil war experience, the new party’s chief, President Htin now is holding the flag that is passed by the late president Mr Kyin.

A political thinker is always lives with politics. The new party’s politburo now faces enormous task to tackle a policy challenge than a military operation to engage with Burmese authority, a current State Peace and Development Council. As a flux of Burmese troops are approaching to the cease-fire zones where close to the Mon National Liberation Army camps, a great concerns have spoiled in the feeling of party’s leaders.

As Burma itself has reached with a large scale of social and political crisis to the high level in the country, the New Mon State Party alone could not tackle to a potential collapse of Burma but may work with ally both locally and nationally. A praise of the Mon party is “we serve the people” but this motto only lives on a small location where local people have lost confidence to the party after over five thousands acres of lands were confiscated by the Burmese troops in Mon State for the last three years.

A well known political thinker, Nai Mr Rot Sa, former General Secretary of the party is now in weak health and step down from the key post and only stands as Vice-president No (2) after General Htaw Mon who holds a post as vice-president No (1). Mr Rot is known in the Mon political community as “Mr. Brain” now leaves the room for his colleagues for a new challenge to the Mon politics in future ahead.

A few former party’s members and supporters who now live in exile as well as in Thailand raise their eye-brow whether the new party’s politburo is “new wine in the old bottle” while they have find no significant new policy initiative in a recent official statement. The party is seemed to focus inside politics in Mon State than on border politics after it took a risk for over seven years cease-fire process. A few political development has been taken place in urban areas in Mon State after the party has expended its liaison offices and economy cooperation with local business community in side Burma.

The golden sheldrake flag as its official logo of the party and its army has yet buried with the party’s founder, President Mr Kyin but it is still flying at the Head Quarter of the party. The past is only a matter of time but present party’s chief will have to hold the flag firmly until he reaches to the destination. The cause for struggling to establish New Mon State or rebuild an old Monland is not only a duty of single Mon people. It is counted every effort of all Mon fellow men and women to lay a historic flag in the new Mon State regardless their social and political status.

 

Feature on Current Affair

Soldiers Make Laws in Burma:

By Banya Hong Sar / April 2003 / Monland

Burmese soldiers who make the law by guns confiscated over five thousands land in Mon State and farmers have no way to run but seek for employment in Thailand where they assume it is only a democratic haven for them”.

Burmese army confiscated over five thousands acres of land in Mon State at the southern of Burma that worth than 235 million Kyats (Burmese Currency) in the last three years after its implemented to become the largest army in South East Asia. Over thousands of land -owners seek for compensation but only received an order to leave their real estates and families’ properties within day and week. Hundred of thousands local people with a large number are Mon fled to Thailand for employment after they lost a historic lands and properties. Rubber trees, betel-nut, lime and plants have been cut down for the sole purpose of building new Burmese army camps after cease-fire agreement between Mon National Liberation Army and the Burmese Army has reached since 1995.

The Burmese army makes law within its interests but not through a legal procedure in parliamentary debate. Every single low range soldier can pass the law and order unless he notifies to his/her boss in the army camp. The New Mon State Party once has appeared to the State Peace and Development Council in 2001, a current Burmese military authority for fairly compensation to local landowners who lost their historic lands but only received lip services from the Burmese Generals.

According to cease-fire agreements in 1995 (so call gentleman agreement without formal signatory of accords), the Mon army must not expend its force. However the Burmese army does not comply similar agreement. Over ten camps of Burmese Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) and Regiments are now expended in Mon State where the areas are located very close to the cease-fire zones in Ye Township and Thanphyuzayat Township. Occasionally, the Burmese army sneaked into the cease-fire zones without any notification to the Mon National Liberation Army but it claimed it is only intend for the purpose to crack down anti-government armed groups.

According to The Mon Forum No (1/2003) ‘”in order to build a huge compound of battalion base, the battalion commander planned to negotiate with local Township authorities, which means they would (use) some forced labour from the villagers nearby”.

The Burmese army always claim that the sole purpose of expending the troops is only for protecting “State Security” while it already has over four hundred thousands military personnel in the country. It fears that any treats of less than a thousand anti-government armed groups in Mon State. There is frequent armed clash in Mon State especially in Southern Ye Twon, in the south of Moulmein, the capital city of State between the Burmese troops and insurgents. The Burmese troops has strategically stationed its military command in Southern Ye whereas its never has controlled the areas before cease-fire agreement in 1995. It has received a golden opportunity for expending military controlled areas.

The citizen of Burma especially in States where ethnic people lives has suffered various of human rights violation committed by the Burmese soldiers who make the law and order to create a lawless land. The Burmese troops have stationed almost in towns and central villages in Mon State while it has extended its military strategically locations both on sea and in the air for the last seven years after 1995. Kalae-gote Island that located between Ye and Thanphyuzayat has been used for air base as recent report presented.

The Mon Forum reported said, on January 9, 2003, the Burmese Army’s IB No 62 and No 31 forced the local villagers to build a helicopter landing field in the Kalae-gote island, north-western part of Ye Township, Mon State. Military Operation Command (MOC) No 19 based in Ye Township under the hand of Maj Gen Ye Myint has controlled overall Burmese troops in the Ye areas. In fact, there no single anti-government armed forces own a helicopter.

There are unnoticed law or announcements in Mon State especially in Ye and Thanphyuzayat areas where the Burmese army have expended its forces for the last seven years. The white areas turned to gray and a gray location turned to black then a black area became a lawless land. The Burmese army including low rank soldiers have a power to mark the areas for their security when they ought to stay for over night at local residences – homes when they felt a treat by any anti-armed forces in Ye areas.

Over thousand of local poor farmers and hopeless villagers are forced to return their own land to the Burmese troops within exiting Act (Law and Order) made by previous Burmese dictators including colonial rules. At the end,They only find a place to speak to local Buddhist monks for help but none of a strong reaction has been taken place.

The General Secretary of Mon Unity League, Nai Sunthorn Sripannegrn recently has urged to International Committee for Red Cross in Bangkok for “protecting” those ordinary citizens who are under abused by Burmese soldiers or a lawless soldiers. The ICRC has humanitarian aid program in Mon State for health and development projects in major central villages such as Lamine village in Ye Township.

On the other hand, the Burmese army also makes a deal with local civilian authority for running a business for sex workers in Mon State where they can make extra income as a gentleman deal. Private hostels and restaurants are open by local businessmen but at least must made a deal with Burmese high rang soldiers or military intelligence officers, according a local resident from Ye Town. Burmese local authority also makes a deal on gambling business in Mon State for not only to earn personal profit but also an intention to destroy the Mon society with gambling and social disorder.

Ye Township and surrounding areas are isolated by the strong Mon social organizations such as Buddhist monks association. There is / was no news coverage any stories in local media and newspaper unless high military officers visit the territory. The Mon National Liberation Army and its founder the New Mon State Party does not have sufficient resources for reporting news except it mentioned in its recent official “Statement” that only said “so much concern about and we always stand on the side for our people”.

Local farmers and poor citizens have no much land for farming. Historic lands that belong to previous families are the only properties they have for a survival of new generations. The confiscation of land only made a low story in local population while ordinary people have no place to speak off their voice. Many non-government organizations in the country could not have access to visit black areas whereas the most needed location for help. International news service only stationed in Rangoon, the capital city of Burma with strict order for media outlet. They are blocked to travel in rural areas especially in the conflict zones.

So far, the Burmese army under a control of SPDC uses an authority to make law while they also create a lawless village. It is cleared that the Burmese army would not return these lands to historic landowners instead it strategically extended military operation for total controlling border areas. After it cracked downed a powerful Mon political party, the Mon National Democratic Front in 1992, the SPDC assumes it has no strong rival party.

It was a smart operation of the SPDC that cracked down an official Mon political party and took a cease-fire agreement with once a popular Mon armed force in 1995. The next attempt was jailed prominent Mon nationalist leader Nai Ngwe Thein and his two MPs in 1998. A current task of the Burmese army is to complete a border route (motor road) between Three Pagoda Pass and southern of Mon State for further military expansion under a project of “Border Areas Development Program” led by Burmese Military Intelligent Chief Lt. Gen-Khin Nyunt.

The Mon National Liberation Army was formed in 1971 under a political control of the New Mon State Party. Countless of local villagers were killed with an accusation of insurgent supporters since 1948 after the Mon resistant groups against to Rangoon government. The Burmese army has confiscated lands and properties of local people in southern Burma for the last three years. They forced local people to provide them supplies by collecting illegal cash as imposed tax from local farmers and border traders. All vehicles across the border checkpoints and along the route from Three Pagoda Pass to southern Burma are imposed to pay illegal tax as the Burmese troops claim for “Security Protection” to passengers. The Burmese army have also widely make a deal with local illegal business operators such as timber, gambling and border traders for extra cash on hand.

The Mon Forum, a Human Rights Foundation of Monland and its former associate groups have documented for over ten years how the Burmese army and local authority discriminate local people in Mon State. The Burmese army chief used a policy of ethnic cleansing and a sense of crime against humanity in lawless areas.

THE END

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Note:

Independent Mon News Agency is a self-help news service based in Mon State, Burma (Border Area). The agency established in 1999 and has published Independent Mon Newspaper, The Guiding Star in Mon and Burmese Language with front color for 12 pages. The Agency is seeking for technical and resources from other media organizations as well as aid organizations for further service development of the agency. (Editor)

 

Further information contact: email: imna_news@yahoo.com, channai@hotmail.com