News, Personal Accounts, Report & Analysis on Human Rights Situation in Mon Territory and Other Areas Southern Part of Burma

 

The Mon Forum

Issue No. 8/98   November 31, 1998

 

Human Rights Foundation of Monland (BURMA)

 

 

Contents

News

(1) SPDC Police Forced Local Paddy-husking Mills to Provide Rice,

(2)  Land Confiscation for Army's Food Supplies

 

Reports:

(1) SPDC Troops' Atrocities against Karen Villagers,

(2) Rebellion and Related Abuses against the Local Villagers by SPDC troops,

 

Personal Account:

Interview with A Village Headman Who Was Tortured by SPDC Commander.


Some Acronyms in This Issue

SPDC-   State Peace and Development Council,

IB -        Infantry Battalion (of Burmese Army),

LIB-       Light Infantry Battalion (of Burmese Army),

KNU-     Karen National Union,

KNLA-   Karen National Liberation Army,

NMSP-  New Mon State Party.

 

News

 

SPDC Police Forced Local Paddy-husking Mills to Provide Rice

(October, 1998)

Since June until September, 1998, Kya-Inn-Seikyi and Kawkareik townships' police stations in Karen State have demanded plain rice (polished rice) from both big and small paddy-husking mills in die townships to provide them with food supplies which they needed every month. According to local police stations' order, the small mill were instructed to give 25 baskets of paddy or 12 baskets of plain rice to the nearest police station. Since June, Karen State police department has cut food supplies to all local police stations and has paid with cash but at government official price and the concerned polices have taken responsibility to buy their own food supply from civilians or rice traders.

With the department paid cash, it could not cover to get die needed food supplies for all polices and their families in stations, and they have found the way to get it from forcing the local paddy-husking mill owners and confiscated farmlands from farmers. There are many small paddy-husking mills in many villages of this area and only a small number of big rice mills are only existing in some large villages. During last year rainy season, many acres of paddy plants were destroyed and the result of paddy crop production was also reduced, because of flood. Although the Karen State government officials established many paddy-buying centers in these two townships to buy paddy at low price from farmers, they could not make effort to get the set amount of paddy instructed by government.

 

After the government officials could not get the set amount of paddy, they could not share the needed food supplies to their many department in Karen State. As the military needs urgent food supplies, normally all food supplies have provided first to many military battalions in the area. Therefore, the police in this area did not receive any food supplies from the government and they were also instructed to find their own food supplies by themselves.

 

Then every police station in the towns or in the villages collected the names of the owners of paddy-husking mills including big rice mills. First, they normally instructed the big rice mills, which are mostly in towns, to give about 100 baskets to the station, if not they would stop these mills. Continuously, the stations wrote letters to every paddy-husking small mills in the village and demanded 20 baskets of plain rice or 50 baskets of paddy from mill owners from husking paddy. If they did not receive the set amount of supplies or the mills which was delayed to send rice must be stopped to husk paddy for one year.

 

Or, if the mill owners did not give the set amount of rice on time, they must be arrested for their refusal to the government police. As an example, because of his delay to send paddy to the police station, a mill owner, Nai Chit Khaing, a native of Kawbein village of Kawkareik township was arrested

by the police. He was detained in police station for one week and severely tortured for his delay sending the paddy. After his release, he was also treated in hospital for another one week.

 

This kind of forcible demand for rice supplies from the rice mills by the local police station was taken place during June to September while many rural fanners husked their paddy in these mills. Because of this forced confiscation of rice, the mill owners also have to steal some rice from farmers or sometimes, they openly discussed and took some rice from farmers.

 

 

Land Confiscation for Army's Food Supplies

(November, 1998)

Since June until October, many SPDC military battalions in Mon State had confiscated many hundreds of rice farmlands and salt lands from the local farmers and forced them again to work in these farms to produce crop and salt. All these crop or salt productions are taken by soldiers without providing the farmers with possible payment for land confiscation and labour costs.


The military battalions that base in Ye town, IB No. 61 and LIB No. 343 confiscated about 40 acres of salt land in the west of the town and put the battalion signboard and declared these lands are owned by army in September. The land owners were not before hand informed by any authorities or soldiers and after confiscation, the soldiers went to these land owners and ordered to keep working in the salt farms but all salt produced from the farms was owned by army. The land owners did not receive any compensated or labour costs for their losing lands and for working in the farms. The soldiers have sold all salt to traders for their battalion funds to buy food supplies especially rice, fish-paste, bean, milk and other supplement foods to feed their soldiers for every day's meals.

 

Additionally, the battalions of Ye township, IB No. 61, LIB No, 343, and No. 106 also confiscated about 150 acres of farmlands for each battalion in June without paying possible compensated costs to the land owners. These confiscated farmlands are situating about 20 kilometers in die northern part of Ye town between two villages, Tamortkanin and Thaungbon. After land confiscation, the soldiers have constantly forced the farmers from Tamortkanin, Thaungbon and Ara-taung villages, to do ploughing the lands, clearing the grasses, preparing embankment to store water and growing the plants, etc., in these farms. For nearly two months, every 30 farmers from these villages had been conscripted to do farming in these farms until the small plants were well grown. The forcible conscription of farmers had taken on a rotation basis and about 30 farmers worked for three days as a one round and they were changed with another a 30 farmers group after three days. The soldiers forced not only farmers, when these farmers went to soldiers' farms, they also had to bring their own cattle, oxen or water buffaloes and other equipments along with them to complete their pieces of work. They also had to take their own foods for these three days farming along with them.

 

Similarly, LIB No. 209 that bases near Kamawet village of Mudon township, also confiscated about 50 acres of farmlands in die west of that village. Kamawet village is die biggest village in the township and far about 15 kilometers from Mudon town. The confiscated land was recently used as pasture land for the villagers to raise their cattle in there. Because this area is close to town and in the government recognized "white area", no farmer was conscripted to do fanning but the soldiers also asked paddy plants and cattle from the nearest farmers without charge. But they grew by themselves. The similar land confiscation was also taken place in other places in Mon State, such as in Kyaikmayaw, Thaton and Beelin townships.

 

SPDC Army Division No. 44 bases in Thaton township also confiscated about 2000 acres of farmlands in area near their bases.

 

There are about 10 SPDC military battalions have been active in Yebyu township area of Tenasserim Division and the battalions from LIB No. 401 through No. 410 confiscated land from farmers by forces and have used forced labour to do farming for them. LIB No. 410 battalion confiscated about 50 acres of farmland from Singu village and the lands were owned by 30 farmers of Singu village including palm plantation land. After confiscation, the Singu villagers were forced to do farming in these lands. Similarly, LIB No. 406 confiscated about 60 acres of farmland near Yapu village and the villagers from Yapu were forced to do farming in that land.

 

In Kawkareik township of Karen State, the local battalions LIB No. 547, 548, and 549 also confiscated about 500 acres of farmlands from 40 farmers near Nabu village and the land owners have been also hired by the soldiers to do farming in these lands for the military. The battalions have told to these farmers that they will pay for farming and so will give farmers with small amount of paddy to these farmers after crop harvesting, but the farmers have no chance to own the lands in future. According to government law, the farmers have only rights to do farming but they do not own any land, because all lands are owned by State. The battalion commanders also explained the farmers about this law and forced them to work in their own farms but crop products must be given all to the battalions.

 

Therefore, totally many thousands acres of land in Mon State, Karen State and Tenasserim Division have been confiscated by the local military battalions or Divisions concerned. The land confiscation by the military was happened following the secret directive order from Rangoon Military GHQs in July that the local battalions by cooperating with the Military Command concerned, must find their own lands and do farming for food supplies. The GHQs would cut all food supplies which were previously provided and the battalions should support by themselves. If the battalion did not follow accordingly to the order, GHQs will take actions against these battalion commanders.

 

Because of this new policy, every local battalions tried to get possible land close to their base and at the same time, since they have been soldiers, they did not know how to do farming. In addition, the nearer farmers have been also forced to work in the farms besides their farmlands were confiscated by forces.

 

 

Report One:

SPDC troops' Atrocities against Karen Villagers

 

The offensives and Related Abuses

Since May until September, the SPDC troops of LIB No. 230, 209 under die military command of Division 22 and IB No. 61's military operation no. 2 have launched regular military offensives against KNU and KNLA troops in area along Three Pagoda Pass-Thanbyuzayat motor road and Zami river. Because of armed conflict between SPDC and KNU/KNLA troops, the local Mon and Karen local inhabitants in Three Pagoda Pass, Kya-Inn-Seikyi and Thanbyuzayat townships were always accused as rebel-supporters or sympathizers and were also inhumanely mistreated by the SPDC soldiers. They were subjected to be killed, arrested, tortured and raped whenever the SPDC troops launched offensives. Sometimes, their villages were totally destroyed and the villagers were ordered to move into SPDC troops control and desinated villages. On the other hand, SPDC troops also arrested all male villagers in the village and used them as frontline civilian porters to carry ammunitions and supplies for military. Sometimes, for the emergency cases, the soldiers also arrested women and used them as porters.


Killing and Torturing by LIB No. 230


From May until July, the military battalions LIB No. 230 and 209 have cooperated in launching unceasing offensives along the motor road and Zami river, against KNU/KNLA to force all Karen troops to move out from the areas. Therefore, many villagers were suffered from this offensives. In the third week of May, when the troops from LIB No. 230 approached to Maezalee village, situates on the motor road, die soldiers also shot down 26 years old a Karen woman, Naw Buu Htae, and her 10 months old son, Ah Chon, in the small bush near the village. About 6:30 p.m. in the evening time, while the SPDC troops were waiting for KNLA troops at the entrance of the village, the woman went into village and soldiers shot at her. She and her son died on the spot. In second week of June, the same troops came into Maetabu village, which is about one kilometer from motor road, and tried to arrest some villagers to use them as porters. Most villagers were afraid of being beaten by soldiers and many men fled from the village to escape the arrest. So the soldiers could arrest only three old men in the village, including village secretary, Saw Ne Mi Sein (70 years), and beat them severely and accused all fled villagers as KNLA soldiers. These three men were tied up with ropes and hanged up in the trees and the soldiers beat them with rifle butts and sticks. On the next day, the same troops went to Apalon village and also killed a Karen villager, Kyaw Lwin (24 years), outside of village with accusation he was a contact person for KNLA troops. While the troops rounded up the village, he went to his farm and left from the entrance of the village and so he was arrested. The soldiers interrogated about the KNLA troops in the area. He replies he did not know and the soldiers also tortured to tell about KNLA troops and the rebel bases. At the end, they killed with accusation he was a contact person for KNLA troops, because of his constant replies that he did not know about KNLA troops. After killing of a villager, the troops went into villages and also beat other five village leaders, Saw Ba Aie (52 years), Saw Aung Nyunt Shwe (41 years), Saw Ba Kyi (22 years), Saw Ba Kyaing (35 years) and Saw Aye Hlaing (56 years), they were severely beaten by soldiers with accusation they were keeping KNLA contact person in the village.

 

Later, in July, LIB No. 230 moved down along Zami river area and cooperated with LIB No. 209 and launched joint military operation to attack against the KNU along the river and Kya-Inn-Seikyi township area. The fighting constantly occurred along Zami river area and most villagers in this area have been displaced. Most villagers were instructed to not allow any KNU troops to stay or to pass into their villages. Most villages in this area were already ordered to move into three designated places before the end of 1997 (see The Mon Forum, Issue No. 1/98, Report: Forced Relocation in Kya-Inn-Seikyi Township). However, the villagers could not stay in these places because they were not provided any farmland to get foods or job to get income for survival. Later, except some agreed to stay in SPDC troops' designated places and some fled to border area, many villagers secretly went back to their village again. But when the SPDC troops came close to their villages, they had to hide. Some villagers also approached the military battalions concerned and bribed them to stay in their village again. As an instance, Kalort-tort Chaung villagers paid to LIB No. 230 and No. 256 with 100, 000 Kyat bribe each and they were allowed to stay for three months in their own village from May to July. But they had promised to SPDC troops that they would not allow the KNLA troops to stay in or pass into their village. If there was no KNLA troops' activity during this period, SPDC troops would allow them to stay longer in the village. When the new SPDC troops changed or came into this area, the policy of new battalion was changed and the villagers faced the displaced situation again.

 

 

Torturing and Rape by IB No. 62

On July 26, to change troop location with LIB No. 343 that based in Three Pagoda Pass area, the troops from IB No. 62 led by Col. Than Win, also moved to Three Pagoda Pass town. According to their plan, this IB No. 62 was named as military operation no. 2 and given duties by Southeast Military Command, to launch offensives against KNLA troops along the way the moved. When they reached near Maetabu village (a Mon and Karen mixed village with 80 households), they also met three KNLA soldiers who were taking a rest on the Zami river bank. The SPDC soldiers also shot at Karen soldiers, but no one was killed in the fighting. The commander angered to the villagers nearby and suddenly went into Maetabu village and arrested all men in the village and accused they had allowed the Karen soldiers to stay or take base in their village. Three village leaders, Saw Ne Mi Sein (70 years), Saw Kyaw Pyit (44 years) and Saw Nae Pae (50 years) were also brought by operation commander at village monastery and were interrogated about the KNLA troops. They were accused allowing KNLA troops to stay in the surrounding area and severely beaten by the soldiers. The soldiers covered their heads with plastic bags and beat and poured water on it. The commander also beat them with sticks. While the commander interrogated the village leaders at monastery, one squad of his troops brought two sisters, Naw Mu Tu (21 years) and Naw Mu Naung (26 years) to a house and the girls were repeatedly raped by soldiers at day time. After interrogation and beating, the village leaders heard about the rape case and also told about behaviour of the soldiers to the commander and ask to punish these soldiers. The commander angered to the village leaders and beat them again. At the end, he also ordered the villagers to leave from their villages immediately and said he would not like to see this village when he came back next time. Therefore, Maetabu village was totally and automatically destroyed and most villagers fled into jungle or to NMSP control area to take refuge. The village chairman, Saw Ne Mi Sein was hospitalized for several days in a NMSP hospital.

 

Then on the next day, July 27, the troops moved into Paungkhaw village (with 50 households), which was far about one hour walk from Maetabu, and tried to arrest all men in the village. But most of them already fled and they just arrested only five villagers. These villagers were severely beaten by soldiers while they were interrogating them about KNLA troops and why the villagers allowed KNLA troops to launch activities in the area. Then, the troops of IB No. 62 moved and reached to Three Pagoda Pass on July 30.

 

Because of the order from Southeast Military Command, IB No. 62 troops have launched the offensives against KNLA troops along Three Pagoda Pass-Thanbyuzayat motor road with plan to re-build the road and use it in dry season. The troops went into every village and forced the villagers to show the KNLA bases. When the troops reached near Apalon village, they arrested about 10 villagers from the hilly rice farms and asked them about the bases of KNLA troops. When the villagers could not give clear answer to them, all of them were severely beaten and prohibited the farmers to not go to the farms, because the soldiers tried to cut contact between KNLA troops and Karen civilians. On September 29, this military operation was attacked by KNLA troops near Khonkhan village and the soldiers were angry to nearest villages. When the troops went village, the soldiers took every villagers' belongings along with them, so at the end, the village was totally destroyed.

 

 

Report Two:

Rebellion and Related Abuses against the Local Villagers by SPDC Troops

Accusation of Rebel-supporters and Other Violations by SPDC in Ye Township

 

Since the new formed "Mon Armed Group" which has no official political name, has been active in most part of Ye southern part and Yebyu township areas, the local Mon inhabitants in over 30 villages have been accused as rebel-supporters or sympathizers by the local SPDC battalions. Since June, with attempt to keep more control in the area and prevention the deployment of SPDC troops in the area, the armed group has operated more attacks against the SPDC troops who came into area and war situation has escalated in the region. SPDC troops also have tried to block the movement of Mon rebels both on land and in sea routes. The SPDC troops have re-used "four cuts campaign" against the Mon armed group and tried to cut all contacts such as information, food supplies, recruitment and moral support from the villagers to the armed group. Following this new policy adopted by the SPDC troops, the villagers in these areas have faced more and more difficult situation to stay in their villages and they have been constantly punished by the government troops.

 

Additionally, the villagers are also suffered from the constant conscription of forced labour by SPDC troops in their attempts to deploy firm and absolute control in the area. More military encampments have been built in the area or the former encampment were re-built to be more stronger to protect from attack, and so the villagers in these area are suffered from forced labour. They have to contribute their manual labour in building the military encampment. A result of more SPDC troops' activities in the area is more arrest of civilian porters in the area and the villagers have been continuously suffered from the forced portage conscripted by SPDC troops.

 

Therefore, the villagers have faced very unsafe and unstable situation in the area. Some villagers also decided to move from their villages and fled to other areas normally NMSP control area where they feel more safe than their area. Some villagers also moved into SPDC firm control area like Ye and other villages where SPDC has military outpost, because they anyhow would contribute labour and pay tax to the soldiers, but could escape from torturing and killing by soldiers. They expected the situation is more better than they were in the villages. Thousands of villagers are still displaced in their own area. This kind of villagers would not like to abandon their belongings in the village such as houses, gardens, rice, livestocks and others, and rice farms, fruit plantations and when they have chance they will return homes. They villagers who could pay ransom and regular tax such as portering fees, development funds for government infrastructure projects and security fees for local troops could be avoided from forced labour and other mistreatments. However, the villagers have faced escalated difficult situation to stay and survive in the area. But they have very little choice to flee from their origin country to cross the border into Thailand, because the Thai border is closed and Thai government's restricted policy to accept refugees from Burma al-though the Burmese ethnic people are suffering from the systematic persecution by their government.

 

 

Killing and Torturing following the Allegation of Rebel-supporters

 

After the SPDC troops from IB No. 61 were attacked by Mon troops in the last week of May, the joint operation of SPDC troops including LIB No. 408, No. 273, No. 343 and IB No. 61 also went into many Mon villages and tried to arrest the villagers who have contact with Mon armed group. On June 8, about 60 troops of LIB No. 408 also went into Kronekanya village and arrested two villagers, namely, Nai Mit (48 years) and Nai Aung Kyi (35 years) with accusation they were contact persons for Mon rebels. Actually, these two men's rice farms were near the sea and the Mon troops also passed near die farms to get boats after die}' fought with SPDC troops. Therefore, they were accused as rebel-supporters. After arrest, they were severely tortured by SPDC soldiers. The LIB No. 408 battalion's column commander also cut the face and throat of Nai Mit with knife with his own hand. When they interrogated Nai Aung Kyi about the Mon troops he could not give satisfied answers to the commander because he could not speak Burmese language. The commander also angered to him and beat him. They also cut his mouth and face. Then the soldiers took his eyes and, cut and open his stomach with knife. Thus, he died in the hands of LIB No. 408's commander and soldiers.

 

Similarly, when the Mon troops passed near her farm. they also took foods in a rice farm hut owned by a woman with five children, Mi Khin Ye (42 years). Therefore, when the LIB No. 408 troops turned head to Mi-htaw-hla Kalay village, Ye township, from Kronekanya village on June 9, and they arrested Mi Khin Ye in the village. Although Mi Khin Ye said he knew about the Mon troops took dinner in her farm but she was not there at that time. The soldiers angered to her and took her outside of village. They did not torture but shot at her and so she died on the spot.

 

On July 30, the SPDC troops from IB No. 106 had big fighting with Mon troops in Yindein village, about 20 kilometers from Ye, and both sides' soldiers were injured. Then the SPDC local military strategic commander also ordered to all battalions to force the Mon troops out of

this area within two weeks, first and second week of August. Following this order, the local military battalions gave instructive orders to the villages in the area through village leaders to inform about the activities of the Mon troops or if not, the villagers or village leaders must be punished. They also instructed to give the names of suspected villagers, who might have contact with Mon troops, to their battalions.

 

During these two weeks military operation, the soldiers also ordered to every village, to not go to their rice farms or plantation, to not keep foods in the farm huts, to not go to the sea for fishing, to not use forest route to travel from village to another or if possible to not travel anywhere and to not use torch lights at night time. The SPDC troops also expected that the Mon rebels would use the forest roads and traveled at night time by using torch lights. In operation to launch attacks and force the Mon troops out of the area, the strategic commander also used both troops based in Ye township and Yebyu township area.

 

On August 7, when SPDC troops from LIB No. 408 went into Thaungkhun village in evening time about 7:00 p.m., they also met two villagers who used the torch light. These two villagers were Nai Ah Byu (30 years) and Nai Yoke Phu (26 years) were also arrested for their using torch lights. They were tied up and accused as members of Mon armed group by SPDC soldiers and were severely tortured. Although the village chairman told these two villagers have no connection with armed group and complained he did not receive the order that to not use torch light to instruct the villagers before hand, the soldiers did not believe the chairman. The soldiers also cut the bodies of those villagers with knife and asked to admit they were die members of rebel group. They used many kinds of torturing while they interrogated the villagers. At the end, after the soldiers could not receive satisfied answers from the villagers, the commander also ordered to kill them. They brought those two villagers and killed them outside of village in a rice field. On the next day morning, the villagers met two corpses.

 

On August 15, another villager from Koemile village was killed and other four villagers were severely tortured by soldiers from IB No. 61 which was taking base in Koemile village. The troops from LIB No. 61 was conscripting forced labour from Koemile and forced the villagers to build military barracks in their outpost on a rotation basis. The conscription of forced labour have been taken place since June and so the villagers knew their round to work for the military at least one week in a month. Thus, some villagers also left from villages to town or another places to seek jobs for income and were away from the village if the round to work for the army did not reach.

 

However, in August, the soldiers took unregular forced labourers from Koemile village. While five villagers from Koemile village, namely, (1) Nai Myint Sein, 25 years; (2) Nai Maung Than, 35 years; (3) Nai Win Maung, 21 years; (4) Nai Krok, 49 years and (5) Nai Maung Hla, 34 years, were in a fishing village working as fishermen, they were asked to work in the outpost. Their families could not substitute with another villager labourers and the commander in the outpost angered to them. When they came back to their village, these five men were arrested by IB No. 61's outpost commander, Sergeant Pauk Khaw, and detained in the outpost.

 

While they were in detention, they also asked why they did not come to work in the last week to build the military barracks. Nai Myint Sein had an argument with Sergeant Pauk Khaw and said the villagers had no time to work for income. The commander also angered to him and alleged he was encouraged by Mon armed group to against SPDC troops. Then the soldiers changed questions and asked about the activities of Mon troops in the area where they worked as fishermen. Nai Myint Sein also said as he was not the native villager in the fishing village, he did not know well about the activities of the Mon troops. The commander and soldiers also beat Nai Myint Sein. After he was seriously tortured, he was brought outside of village and killed by Sergeant Pauk Khaw and his soldiers with knife.

 

Moreover, the other four villagers were seriously punished by soldiers when they were interrogated about the activities of Mon troops. They also cut Nai Maung Than and Nai Win Maung ears and pulled hot water to their mouths. Their throats were also cut and beaten for several times, whenever they said they did not know about Mon troops and their activities. Similarly Nai Krok and Nai Maung Hla were severely tortured by soldiers.

 

The commander also reported to IB N o. 61 battalion HQs in Ye that they also killed a contact person of Mon troops, Nai Myint Sein, and other four villagers who went along with Nai Myint Sein were detained and tortured to get more information. HQs also instructed their outpost commander that to not release the remaining four villagers and said to treat their wounds in outpost. Therefore, the soldiers did not allow any family members or relatives to meet these villagers in the outpost. They were detained in the outpost for one month and battalion also treated them in there. After one month, HQs found they were not rebel-supporters and ordered the outpost commander to release them. But no action was taken against the outpost commander by HQs for his killing and torturing innocent villagers.

 

In the second week of August, because of the disappearance of village chairman in Mi-htaw-hla Kalay village, Ye township, the SPDC troops LIB No. 273 -also angered to the villagers. On August 10, the LIB No. 273 troops also went into this village and arrested the eldest and younger brothers of village chairman, Nai Kalar Mae (62 years) and Nai Tin Maung (52 years). They also accused these two villagers that the chairman went to rebel group and tried to against them. Two villagers refused and said their brother was not interested about the Mon troops and he just escaped from torturing of SPDC commander, because the chairman was beaten by a commander from IB No. 106 in May. They did not believe these villagers and tortured them. They let these two villagers dig the earth and put them in the holes. The soldiers covered the whole bodies of these two men and beat them. They also burnt dried leaves outside of the holes and kicked the heads. They also cut the ears and interrogated whether their brother joined the Mon troops or not. Whenever the two villagers said they did not know about their brother, they were severely beaten. At the end, those two villagers lost conscienceness and the soldiers let the villagers take them out of holes. As a result, former village chairman's elder brother Nai Kalar Mae became crazy and younger brother Nai Tin Maung also entered into monkhood after release.

 

These are the instances of the mistreatment against the villagers, such as killing and torturing. As the local villagers are blocked in their own area, and dangerous situation in the area, all information of killing and torturing are not unable to inform to the outsiders.

 

 

Mistreatment against the Local Village Leaders

 

Since June, soon after the Mon troops have been active, the local village leaders in the area concerned are instructed by the nearest local SPDC battalions to keep inform about the activities of Mon troops. According to the local battalions' instruction, if the Mon troops came into their villages, or passed close to the villages, the village leaders must immediately inform the nearest SPDC outpost by sending villagers and letters. In informing about the Mon troops, those village leaders must describe, who lead the troops, how many troops, when they arrive to village or pass close to it, what kinds of armed they are holding, etc..

 

In addition, the village leaders are absolutely ordered to not support the Mon troops with foods and information. They are also barred to not provide any porters to the rebel troops. If someone, village leaders or ordinary villagers, support rebels or sympathize them, he/she must face death penalty. Moreover, the SPDC troops also gave secret order to the village leaders that if they met a suspect or a stranger, they must immediately contact the nearest SPDC outpost. Under the various kind of instruction, the village leaders have faced more and more difficulties to survive.

 

In second week of May, Captain Khin Maung Myint of IB No. 106 also beat the village chairman of Mi-htaw-hla Kalay, Nai Khee (55 years) (see his personal account on the next page) for his delay to inform about the Mon troops' activities who passed close to his village. During this week, IB No. 106 also launched military operation to find the Mon rebel troops in the area and suddenly arrived to Mi-htaw-hla Kalay village after the Mon troops left about one and half hour. Soon after the Mon troops left, the village chairman also immediately wrote a letter and sent it with a villager to LIB No. 343 that based in Khawza village. Actually, LIB No. 343's Khawza village outpost was the nearest one and he was also instructed by this battalion to keep informing about the activities of Mon rebel troops. He did not know the military operation of IB No. 106 appeared in his village. Then the commander also asked the village chairman why he kept silence about the activities of Mon troops near his village and beat him without inquiring more information. Although the chairman complained that he already informed about the Mon troops' activities to LIB No. 343 and the villager was still walking to Khawza village to reach the outpost, but the commander did not trust him and hit his face. The village chairman was seriously injured and moved to Ye for treatment. After treatment, he decided to stay in a village under control of NMSP After his disappearance, his two brothers were severely tortured by government troops. (See above, killing and torturing of the villagers.) After his resignation of chairman post, every one in the village tried to avoid to be village chairman. Then, LIB No. 343 troops came and appointed the new chairman in July.

 

In the first week of July, because of the fighting in the surrounding area, four village leaders of Kaw-hlaing village, Nai Tin Hlaing, Nai Kyi, Nai Shwe and Nai Pu, were kidnapped by the SPDC troops from IB No. 61 battalion from Ye. This village is about 15 kilometers far and situates in the west of the town. They were severely tortured by the government troops during they were detained over two weeks in both a outpost in Hangan village and battalion HQs. After these arrested village leaders' families paid a ransom of 30,000 Kyat per head, they were released by the battalion. (See in news, The Mon Forum Issue No. 7/ 98.)

 

Similarly, in August, Khawza fishing village's chairman was severely beaten by LIB No. 273's soldiers for his delay to inform about activities of Mon troops. When the Mon troops came into this fishing village, they also took two fishing boats and went to the sea. While he prepared a report finding someone who can write Burmese language, about 20 SPDC troops suddenly came into village and arrested all villagers. The soldiers also angered to village chairman and they punished him for his delay to inform the arrival of Mon troops to the village and providing boats for them. The soldiers pressed the stomach of village secretary, Nai Dot (40 years), with a round bamboo stick for many rounds. He also lost conscienceness for one day and one night and received inner injuries. The commander did not allow to bring the secretary to hospital. After the troops left, his family brought him to hospital in Ye town and was treated in hospital for three weeks. He got serious pains in stomach and three bones broke. He also resigned as village chairman and the new chairman was also appointed. In first week of September, the new chairman was also severely tortured by this battalion's soldiers again. After he received village chairman post, he also went to other villages for trading to sell dried fishes. When the Mon troops passed his village he was away and the LLB No. 343 troops also angered to him. When he arrived back to village, he was arrested and beaten. The soldiers also take his eyes and said that his eyes were useless and careless. Because of torturing, his two eyes also were blind and he was brought to Moulmein to treat his eyes. He was also dismissed by the soldiers from a village chairman post.

 

On September 2, the SPDC troops from LIB No. 273 led by Maj. Maung Maung Than also went into Tawbaung village and beat the village chairman, Nai Aung (52 years) and secretary, Nai Hla Pe (48 years) were severely tortured for their inability to arrange for needed porters. According to LIB No. 273's

instruction, they ordered to arrange five porters from the village with 30 households for every day use of the troops. On that day, when the troops arrived the village, they received only four porters and asked the village chairman and secretary why they could not provide another porter. The village leaders said one porter was sick and he could not walk and so, to forgive him. The commander angered to village chairman and secretary and beat them. The secretary's bones broke and he was treated at home for one month and could not walk for one month. Because of this severe torturing, the chairman sold his house at low

price and moved to other place.

 

On September 19, when the Burmese troops from LIB No. 273 led by Maj. Maung Maung Than went into Kyonekanya village, there was no village chairman and the commander was unable to get porters or to get information about the activities of the Mon troops. All villagers except women and children already fled to escape from mistreatment of soldiers and conscription of forced labour and porterage. Therefore, the commander also called a meeting with villagers and asked someone to be a chairman. As there was no man, nobody accepted as chairman. So he angered and went to monastery and forced a Buddhist monk to disrobe and take chairman post. Among three monks in the monastery, Nai Hataik was a former village secretary and the commander forced him to disrobe. The commander also told the villagers that if the monk did not disrobe, or no one

acted as village chairman, the village must be destroyed and the villagers must be relocated. Therefore, Nai Hataik disrobed to prevent the distroyance of village and forced relocation of the villagers.

 

Recently, the SPDC troops also instructed the villagers that they must have always prepared 20 porters from one hundred households for daily use in their military battalions and later many villagers especially men escaped from the forced labour and portage. So the commander also angered to the village leaders and beat them. Because of this inhuman treatment for several time, the village chairman escaped from village and the secretary, Nai Hataik, also entered into monkhood to avoid torturing. Again, the secretary was forced to disrobe by soldiers and forced him to manage for villager labourers and porters.

 

Because of this severe torturing to the village community leaders, many village leaders in these villages have fled to escape the mistreatment. Normally, even the new appointed village leaders were also severely punished by the soldiers when they dissatisfied on them. Many villages in the area became lack of leadership and could not manage for the administration. Therefore, the community practices have been gradually ruin by the SPDC soldiers.

 

 

 

Personal Account


Interview with A Village Headman Who Was Tortured by SPDC Commander

Because of armed fighting and the rebellion by a Mon armed group, many Mon villagers have been displaced while some fled to NMSP control area to escape from killing, torturing, and other related abuses.   On October 23. our human rights also conducted an interview with a village chairman from Mi-htaw-hla Kalay village as below;

 

Name; Nai Khee Age/Sex: (55) years/ male  

Nationality/ Religion: Mon/ Buddhist

Occupation: Farmer

Native Place; Mi-htaw-hlar Kalay village. Ye Township, Mon State

 

 

When did you arrive to this village and why did you flee from your village?

 

I arrived here about one month ago.   Because of Mon troops activities led by Nai Ah Bin. and Nai Kyine Daik in around our area, the Burmese troops (SPDC troops) always came into our village and always asked for porters and cash from village. Sometimes they came and tortured the villagers who were suspected as contact persons of the Mon armed group.   In second week of May, I was also beaten by a Burmese commander from LIB No. 106 and that was why I flee.



What SPDC battalions have been active in your area and how did they treat the villagers?

 

There have been about 4 Burmese battalions, such as LIB No. 343, No. 408, IB No. 61 and IB No. 106 -have been active and always came into our village when I was as a village chairman since two years ago. Since the beginning of this year (Burmese calendar year since April, 1998), the Burmese army launched offensives to the Mon troops led by Nai Bin and Nai Hlein.   Thus, whenever the Burmese, troops came into our village, they also asked many questions to me and took at least three villager porters from our  village.  And they also asked for foods such as rice, chicken, pork and beer, and so the villagers had to pay for it.



Did you keep good relationship with them (Burmese soldiers) and now you can manage for the labour, porters and other materials that the Burmese army asked?

 

No. I had stayed as normal.   If I kept very good relationship with them, they will take more from the villagers and it could not make any profit to anyone. For example, if the soldiers needed about 10 villagers to be porters., I always asked to reduce them up to five persons.

 


Concerning to the activities of Mon armed group, how the Burmese troops instructed to you and what kind of punishment you must be received if you failed your duty.

 

Yes, there are a lot of instructions came to me by the commanders of the battalions concerned.  Normally, we must have to inform about the activities of Mon troops regularly and soon after the Mon soldiers passed into our village or outside of our village, we must write and send the reports to the nearest Burmese battalion.   In the report, we also had to describe, the numbers of Mon troops, names of their leaders, what kinds of arms they were holding, what routes they used and form which village they came, to where they went and did they prepared to attack the Burmese Army and etc..  Because of too many questions and detail facts to put in the report, sometimes, we also forgot to put some facts and the Burmese soldiers also angered to us.

 


Did the Burmese soldiers ever punish you because of your failure to report them about the activities of Mon soldiers?

 

Yes.   That was why I flee from my village.   Before April of this year, I always informed and reported about the activities of Mon troops to the nearest

Burmese army's military outpost, LIB No, 343 which had bases in Khawza village, about 15 kilometers north from our village.   Thus, 1 have good relationship with LIB No, 343.   But in second week of May, soon after the Mon troops passed close our village, I also prepared a report like before and sent it to LIB No. 343 by sending a villager to walk to outpost.   While my villager was walking for one hour to LIB No. 343's outpost, there were about 60 troops from IB No. 106 led by Captain Khin Maung Myint, which came from the south and suddenly arrived to the village. The commander asked many questions to me about the activities of Mon troops. He also argued that why I didn't inform anything about the Mon troops.   I told him that I already informed about all about Mon troops to LIB No. 343.  He said he didn't get contact or radio message from the LIB No, 343.   So I told him my villager walked only for one hour and he could not reach to LIB No. 343's outpost.   He also accused me that I had delayed to inform about Mon troops because I supported their activities and let them go far to avoid from the attack.  I complained I never had like this mental behaviour and I was always keeping informed about the activities of the Mon troops to Burmese Army   Because of my complaint, he angered to me and beat and hit me with fists.   He hit me several times with his fists to my face.  My tooth also broke and my face was immediately getting pain.   I could not eat foods for nearly 10 days.

 


Did you continue working as village chairman, after you was beaten?

 

No. I decided to resign as village chairman.   Then I left from village for nearly one month to find a new place to stay.   First I went to a village near Ye town and stayed there for two month, but I kept myself silence.   I didn't contact anyone because I worried that the Burmese battalions asked me to be chairman again.   First, my wife and daughters also brought all our belongings to Ye and decided to settle in Ye.   But the Burmese soldiers also tried to arrest me and tortured my two brothers who left in the village.

 


Why did they arrest you and how did the soldiers mistreat your brothers?

 

On July 30, when the Burmese soldiers were attacked by Mon troops, the troops from LIB No. 273 also accused that I had contacted with Mon troops: disappeared from the village.   Because of my connection with Mon troops, the Burmese soldiers were attacked, said by commander of LIB No. 273. Therefore, they arrested my eldest brother, Nai Kalar Mae (62 years old) and my younger brother Nai Tin Maung (52 years old), and tortured them.   The soldiers let my brothers to dig the earth and put them in the holes until their neck.   They also covered the holes with earth and tortured them to tell truth about me and asked them how I contacted the Mon soldiers. Both my brothers told soldiers that I didn't contact any Mon soldiers and stayed in a village near Ye, After enough torturing my brothers, they released them and LIB No. 273 also informed IB No. 106 troops to arrest me in the village I stayed.   After severe torturing by soldiers, my eldest brother also became crazy and my younger brother entered into the monkhood.   Then I decided to flee to NMSP control area like now.

 

 

What did you left in your native village and do you want to go back home in near future?

 

No, It is impossible to go back home in near future, because the Burmese troops accused me I was rebel-supporter.   I had to abandon everything when I came from my village.   I got only some clothes and pots. I abandoned a big house which costs about 1 million Kyat, one betel-nut plantation and another one coconut plantation.   My betel-nut plantation could produce the worth of 500,000 Kyat of betel-nuts every year while I received about nearly worth of 300,000 Kyat from my coconut plantation.   When I was in village, I could pay every thing for the military : whenever they asked portering fees, development fees for motor road and railway constructions, regular tax from village to support the Burmese troops.   Even sometimes, when the soldiers took beer and other foods from the village shops, I myself paid for the costs.   Now, they accused me totally rebel-supporter and I could be killed by soldiers if they met me in the village.   Therefore, I decided I will not go back home until the situation totally improves.