Issue 4 Ceasefire is killing us

EDITORIAL 
We cannot go back

    Burma economy is a mess. Once the richest country in South East Asia but now regarded by the international community as a human rights disaster zone and economic embarrassment. The only signs of growth are the manufacture of narcotic drugs, trafficking of people, military expenditure and crimes against people. In spite of a ceasefire between the Burmese regime and the Karen National Union (KNU) thousands of villagers are still being forced from their homes. Burmese soldiers continue to build new camps and order Karen villagers to carry munitions and supplies to stock these army bases. According to a new report, Ke ta bu bar (meaning *I cannot go back) by Human Watch Rights Asia, increased militarization in December 2004 created 5,000 new internally displaced people in Nyaunglebin District. It an easy term to say and use, isplaced person? but the living reality is a nightmare. Forced to flee in small groups or as entire villages. People only take what they can carry. Cooking pots, rice stores and tools to cultivate land are left behind. Jungle camps are without sanitation, security or health care. Malaria, worms, and common colds kill the young and old. Help is often many days walk. Getting there is fraught with danger. Landmines, attacks from Burmese soldiers and their allies, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) (armed militia gang) used by the regime to attack refugee camps and Karen villagers). What Karen people want is not some outrageous or expensive demand. They want a peaceful solution to the 56-year-old conflict so their children can learn and be proud of their rich Karen culture and language. They want education, access to health services and to live in peace.

FRONTLINE NEWS

Burmese army smash New Year promise

   

 Karen New Year is usually a time of great happiness, but Burmese army soldiers used the occasion to attack celebrating villagers. A Human Rights Watch Asia researcher interviewed people who fled the assault on their village.

     For the people of Ka Law Gaw village in Dooplaya District, the past nine years has been peaceful. They lived under Karen National Union (KNU) protection and were able to grow crops and trade in peace. Many displaced people from other villages moved to the security of Ka Law Gaw to escape Burmese army oppression There was little risk of being used as forced labor as the army was too far away.

     New Year is one of the most important festivals to the Karen, and many people had gathered at Ka Law Gaw to celebrate. Burmese Army soldiers again breached the ceasefire between the KNU and the regime. They were angry Karen soldiers were in the village celebrating New Year with the villagers. Two columns of Burmese soldiers approached the village, the first commanded by Lt. Soe Myint Aw, and the second led by Captain Toe Toe Aung. Both columns were from IB 356 led by Major Than Htun, although they were acting on orders from the Burmese army state commander to attack. The army also used nearly 200 convict porters? to carry their supplies.

     The entire village fled before the army reached them. They ran to the Thai border, thirty minutes walk away. Some of the villagers crossed into Thailand looking for help. Most of the people hid in a cave. The next day some of them returned to the village,

but were captured by the Burmese army. On Wednesday, the people hiding in the cave crossed into Thailand and sought refuge at a monastery north of Umphang in Tak Province. On Friday, four days after the fighting started, Thai authorities forced the 558 Karen civilians back over the border.

     These people are once again living in a cave or on rough open ground along the borderline. They have little food, and cannot return to their village for fear of  Burmese soldiers also laid many landmines around the village.

     NB, a fifty-year-old woman from Ka Law Gaw, said.

     ‘We cannot eat at the right time. We cannot take a bath. We have to sleep on the rocky ground, and some people sleep inside the cave. The smell in the cave is very bad. The water is very bad, I feel unsafe drinking dirty water and we cannot start a fire because the army will see. Now there is a sound in our stomachs from hunger.’

     WT, a farmer in Ka Law Gaw, was exasperated that the Burmese army had so blatantly violated the ceasefire. ‘ I am upset they came on Karen New Year and I have to live in a cave. It is the SPDC fault this happened, they started fighting.’

I Witness

Military makes the people pay

 

 

     Burma military regime force villagers off their land, order men, women and children to work for nothing and use 40 percent of Burma budget on military equipment.  A Nyaunglebin District village headman tells Inside News how soldiers make his people pay.

     The regime’s policies and programs are funded by money from narcotic drugs and by extorting money from ethnic villagers. My people have first hand experienced of this  banditry. Burmese troops stationed in our District, ordered us to pay Strategy Command one million kyat for each of their three battalions.

     The battalion commanders ordered their frontline troops to fine us 10,000kyat a month. The frontline troops kept 2,000kyat and sent the remaining eight thousand to their battalion headquarters. They find many ways to extort money.  They accuse us of supporting Karen National Union (KNU) soldiers. For this ‘crime’ they fine villagers 10,000kyat . If villagers want to go to their storage huts or fields they have to pay 500kyat. Troops force villagers to relocate their village. If people refuse, they have to pay 300,000 to 500,000. They also conscript two villagers from each village. If they refuse they have to pay a 10,000kyat fine. If we cannot pay, they order us to make bricks and rice wine to sell.

     By 2004, SPDC soldiers from each battalion had extorted the one million-kyat. On January 2004, soldiers demanded two people from each village to attend military training. If trainees completed three trainings their names were sent for registration as a soldier. Militia groups are set up in each township. Villagers have to pay these militia 500kyat when they go with troops to the battlefield.

     On March 2004, the SPDC spread lies the KNU would surrender.  Battalions strengthen their camps to withstand shelling from heavy weapons. They ordered villagers to buy thatch and cut bamboo. When there is a conflict they shoot villagers on sight. If they see their huts in the fields or houses in the villages, they steal people belongings. When they have an military operation they force villagers to carry supplies and ammunitions. On April 2004, all our villagers had to register their name to a omen organization? They had to pay 31kyat a person for membership of this organization. During the recent ceasefire agreement with the KNU, troops built a road and two new military camps in each township.

     Burmese army soldiers are beginning to desert.  Strategy commanders want rid of our people even though many of their frontline soldiers want a ceasefire. The leaders at Strategy Command Karen in the frontline and don’t want a ceasefire with the KNU, why would they when they reap the benefits of their extortion.

     In spite of the grim situation in our provinces, brigades, districts and battalions our staffs are prepared to protect themselves and villagers. Looking after villagers is difficult. Families are trying to stand on their own feet, but if their harvest is not good they need help from NGOs. The SPDC is untrustworthy and in spite of ceasefire talk they don’t change. Human right abuses increase and villagers are tortured. People delivering medical services and humanitarian assistance are also targets for the soldiers to shoot.

     If villagers hide in the mountains or jungles they are hunted down, their dwellings burnt and their rice and food stores destroyed. People are sick of the fighting and want a genuine ceasefire, but they don want Burmese troops in their villages.

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The Work I DO

My people need healthcare

many-people-need-healthcare.jpg

Backpacking medicine is hard work

     Keeping healthy is tough when your crops have been destroyed, Burmese soldiers shoot you on sight, your home is a jungle hideout and the nearest medical help is at least a four-day walk away.

     Inside News spoke with Eh Paw, a nurse who recently spent a year in Karen State delivering medical supplies and health care to displaced communities.

     Eh Paw is excited about her year spent among her people. It was the first time in 15 years to visit her homeland, Karen State. She went there on a mission as part of a Back Packer Health Worker Team (BPHWT) to help her people.

     Eh Paw knows what it is like to live as a displaced person. Her family still does. When she was 10 she was forced from her home village of Mu Kyi Win. She became a refugee in Thailand. Her ambition is to be a good health worker and when there is peace in Burma return home to Karen State.

     Eh Paw was excited to be part of the Backpack Medic team and explains she is driven by a need to care for her people.

     ‘My people need to understand about health. They need education and the skills to be able to help themselves.’

     For six months in Karen State, Eh Paw and the Health team trained displaced people to be health workers.

     After the initial training was completed she traveled with her trainees for six months to remote areas of Karen State that had no access to health services. The team set up mobile clinics in two displaced communities to treat patients and organize education workshops on malaria, worms, HIV/AIDS and mother and child health problems.

     Eh Paw says a common obstacle to giving basic health education and treatment to villagers is local superstitions.

     ‘Treatment is easier and more successful once families are able to recognize common symptoms of some of the most treatable parasite infections such as worms and malaria.’

     Alice explains when villagers are sick they make offerings to Nats (ghosts) and fairies, Villager insists drinking more water – often the source of the parasite – is a cure, but often increases the family sickness.

     According to Eh Paw it is essential displaced communities have access to health care if they are to have a chance of combating illness and disease.

     ‘Setting up mobile clinics and taking education to these communities will help to achieve this.’ During Eh Paw 12 months in Karen State security for the team was a constant concern.

     Trips to take medicine to jungle hideouts were often long and dangerous. The team only protection against the Burmese soldiers was the Karen army (KNLA) and that was limited due to a lack of soldiers and ammunition.

     Eh Paw says her team were lucky and never had to live out their plan to hide their medicine in the jungle as they fled from Burmese troops. The closest she came to that particular nightmare was hiding in a village hut while Burmese Troops visited the local pagoda. She says to experience the fear is enough to drive one crazy.

     Eh Paw says in the 15 years she was away from Karen State not much has changed the Burmese army are still killing and forcing Karen villagers of their land.

     But she says the mobile health clinics set up by her backpack medical team have improved the health of the villagers.

     ‘Our people deserve better. They need clinics, schools and the opportunity to cultivate their land without fear of reprisal.’

My Story
The ceasefire is killing us
 
 

  The Burmese military dictatorship says its ceasefire talks with the Karen National Union is a symbol of its sincerity for peace. Reporter PHIL THORNTON went inside Burma to see if the ceasefire was working but instead witnessed atrocities against Karen villagers that prove the regime talk is more political stunt than reality.

     They came out of the mist like ghosts. A thin single file, sliding and slipping down the mountain, soldiers, and porters try to keep two stretchers from falling. Inside one of the green plastic sheets tied to a bamboo pole a mother whimpers from fear and the piece of shrapnel lodged in her gut. Following close behind, held high in another stretcher, is her son, aged 11, also bleeding. His foot bloodied and shattered. His forearm smashed, hot from fever and a piece of mortar buried in his flesh. Mother and son are villagers from Hti Per, a two-day walk from the Thai Burma border and medical care. To get that care the party has to walk over and down four steep mountain ridges, cross through flooded rivers 22 times; avoid Burmese army patrols and landmines. There are no ambulances, shops, telephones or bottled drinking water. Everything needed for the trip has to be carried. Mortar shrapnel, wounded mother and son and her eldest daughter when 10 Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) soldiers aligned to the Burmese military attacked their house. I started this trip with a team of health workers carrying medical supplies to a clinic inside Burma. Along the way the medic traveling with our party was inundated by requests from villagers and people on mountain tracks wanting medicine for ailments that included fever, malaria and anemia.  When news of the conflict came over the army radio and it was known that the woman and boy would have to be sent to the border for emergency treatment The KNLA officer leading the rescue party back to the border says the ceasefire when it works is good, but those moments are rare.

     ‘It not only soldiers who get shot, but villagers are caught up in it as well,’ he says nodding in the direction of the stretcher.

     ‘We were ambushed  when we brought medicine to displaced villagers. In July we had to evacuate a village after soldiers attacked a school with mortar and rifle grenades. The closer to the border the better the situation, but the deeper you go inside the worse it gets.’

Ceasefire trickery

     But if KNU radio intercepts are to be relied on, the border situation is going to get worse. On 27 August 2004, [Burmese] Strategy Commander 773 ordered: ‘…all Battalions under my control to attack KNLA positions along the Moei River [Thai border] and clean them out.’

     A stack of logged radio orders sit on a rough wooden tabletop in a small bamboo hut on the edge of a KNLA army camp. Translated they talk about ambushing KNLA positions and confirming that; Major Myo Min Aung from Burmese 59 Battalion Column 2 will combine with Battalion 106 under the command of Myint Khaingto attack KNLA 202 Battalion on 17 September 2004.’

     So far a patrolling Karen soldier has been killed is the most recent incident. Padho Mahn Sha, KNU general secretary, said for the ceasefire to work it needs a neutral third party to mediate. ‘We’d ask the UN but the [Burmese] regime won accept that. They fear any international involvement. They keep saying it is an internal problem and we can resolve the issues between ourselves. That‘s nonsense. The international community has to get involved because Burma is an international problem.’ was enough proof that Burma should be a concern to both the UN and ASEAN.

     ‘Burma is the world second biggest producer of heroin and the biggest supplier of methamphetamines. Refugees continue to pour over the borders of our neighbours, migrant workers do the same, the generals run the country illegally after failing to recognize the results of the 1991 elections, human rights buses, child soldiers, systematic rapes, forced labour and the environment is a disaster. Even ASEAN meetings fail because they don know how to deal with Burma unresolved internal problems. Wee asked them to let East Timor be involved, but they don want any other outside group involved.’

We build it they burn it

 

Villagers in this part of Karen State use bamboo poles instead of hardwood to support their houses.

     ‘We have plenty of wood in the forest, but we don use it. They only burn them. If [Burmese] come it is easy for us to move and leave our houses.

     We‘ve been told by the DKBA not to take medicine from the KNLA or they will kill us,‘ says Chit Chee.

     Chit Chee says hiding in remote places is tough.

      ‘I’m not happy here, but Ie no choice. We have to travel if we need oil, salt and rice. We sell wild fruit, pigs, chickens or alcohol to make money to buy what we need at places four days walk there and back.’

     Chit Chee says she doesn’t understand the DKBA. ‘If they ask us for omething and if we have it we will give it to them because we‘re all Karen, but I think their heart is not like a Karen anymore.’

     Chit Chee may be right. Divisive tactics have been used before to try to confuse the situation.

     Military expert, Professor Desmond Ball from the Australian National University Strategic and Defence Studies Centre agrees.

     ‘It’s not the first time these tactics have been used. Prior to the East Timor independence referendum in 1999 the Indonesia military armed, paid and ordered Timorese militia gangs to terrorize and kill their own villagers. It‘s not a surprise the SPDC are using the DKBA to confuse the situation and make it appear the fighting is an internal Karen tribal war. It distances them from the fighting and lets them off the hook if the ceasefire talks breakdown.’ Meanwhile, it not military strategies bleeding on the bamboo hut floor but people. Outside the skies dump rain, making the mountain pass a mudslide. The stretcher-bearers says tomorrow walk to the border will be hard.

     The wounded woman is thirsty and hungry but is afraid to eat or drink in case her insides have been perforated and no one in our group is qualified to advise. The nearest medical assistance is still 12 hours away. The woman cries throughout the night. At 3.51am loud gunshots panics the villagers out of sleep. But nothing eventuates except fear.

     As mist peels of the mountains and thunder rumbles the mother and child are placed in the stretchers and we leave for the border. Porters and soldiers take turns to carry the injured, stopping only to rest when fallen trees, boulders and backbreaking hills have been beaten. After six hours of slog through mud, water and rocks a health worker and relief porters meet up with us. Stretchers are placed on a small piece of shaded ground and an IV drip is attached to the woman. The sight of the needle breaking her skin forces her to cover her head with a blanket. It will take another five hours crossing the jungle covering the Dawna Ranges before the woman and child can leave the confines of their hot plastic stretchers. The last stretch of the rescue mission is the most hazardous as it passes through DKBA positions and minefields. The latter a terrifying prospect, as the IV keeps catching on overhead branches requiring someone to walk off the narrow path to free it.

     Keeping single file is difficult in the mud and on the steep downward slope. Mines washed bare of earth could be seen a footstep away from the edge of the track. Adding to the anxiety, radio static confirmed the KNLA202 Battalion had been attacked and a large contingent of DKBA and Burmese army soldiers were moving through the area. The last ridge has been topped, but downhill brings its own problems. The welcome sound of a longtail boat engine cuts through the jungle. It has come to take the patients to a medical clinic. But keeping the stretchers from falling on the greasy path to the river is proving difficult. The porters struggle to overcome the thick mud, the last obstacle before the mother and son can be placed in the boat and taken to safety.

     A relieved Karen officer looks at the grateful faces of his charges and says. heye safe now, but our people have no security. This ceasefire has no rules. Responsibilities and rules have to be spelt out for all sides and strictly followed otherwise how can we stop this suffering.’

     In spite of the gathering mountain of evidence to suggest the ceasefire is nothing more than a ruse by the regime to prevent them sharing political power with opposition and ethnic groups. Ignoring condemnation by the UN, EU and the US the Burmese generals still allow their soldiers to loot, force villagers to work for nothing and deal drugs. Infrastructure, except for Burmese military use is virtually non-existent. Many children are forced to drop out of school to help parents farm. In years to come this will be a national tragedy.

     The KNU Padho Mahn Sha is worried the international community will be fooled by the regime skullduggery.

     If the Junta is sincere we can solve Burma problems, but if they‘re not serious the killing and human right abuses will continue. Don forget their soldiers and the DKBA both get their orders from Rangoon.’

Village Life

Village blacksmith hammers his point

  Mu Aye Pu village blacksmith, Than Nyunt says living in the jungle makes it hard to ply his trade. He has rigged up a bellows, a small anvil from discarded scrap and a table for his forge.

     ‘I’m improvise. If I don‘t have a stone to hone the blades I make do with what

I have. I make knives, digging tools and machetes. I don’t sell them but if people want to give me something in exchange I happy.’

     Than Nyunt is proud of his knives. ‘If I have the materials I can make 10 a day.

     Than Nyunt learnt his trade from his uncle back in Burma.

       ‘Living like this is difficult. I can‘t find metal. I can only reuse and repair old knives. I try to rework them. Villagers need to tools to work their land.’

     Than Nyunt says security in his camp is good.’ If f we have the protection of the Karen army we can stay here, but if we don‘t wel have to leave. Our main worry is security. If we have that then we can grow our food and plan our crops.’

     Admiring Than Nyunt skill as he hammers a knife into shape is village headman Mg Htun, he says. ‘We’ve been here three years. There are more than 200 people here. When the Burmese attack we have to flee to the Thai side. Wee afraid they will mortar and shell us. We know all bout shelling. The Burmese army destroyed our villages. We‘ve all come from different villages, but we share the same experiences.

Face to Face

“I want to go home, but…”

Karen children displaced by Burmese army have no security

Name: Moo Nor

Age:30

Occupation: Farmer

Location: Ler Per Her IDP settlement,

Karen State

     Moo Nor was born and raised in Mae Ken village. She is married with two sons. Her two daughters died soon after she arrived at the borderline, one in Ler Per Her and the other one in a clinic at Mae La. Her youngest son is seriously ill. She came to Ler Per her at the end of 2004 because she could no longer endure forced labor and food shortages. Mae Ken used to have 40-50 families, now there are just a few left. She admits that the fighting in the area has decreased in the past two years, but forced labor and stealing by SPDC soldiers was at the same level. There is a Tatmadaw battalion camp close to the village. Villagers would be used almost everyday for forced labor, which meant carrying supplies from the car road thirty minutes walk from the base, or for security along paths, cooking for soldiers or repairing buildings or structures for the soldiers.

     Where did the people go from your village?

     Everyone ran in different directions.

     How did the soldiers act when they came to your village?

     They came every week. Sometimes the soldiers stayed for two-three days. They ate food, killed our livestock, and drank alcohol. The soldiers just point at what they want then take it. The bo-gyi (officers) is bigger than the soldiers. Their uniforms are clean and nice, they have better equipment and the soldiers are dirty and their clothes are not clean. The Burmese soldiers think we Karen people are ignorant so they do what they like. I don’t want to hear the word Burmese because it makes me fear and I run away.

     Did you ever do forced labor?

     All the time, every week. The SPDC change every six months, so we help them carry (equipment). Every day we must cook for them and carry water.

     Where you forced to porter?

     Many times when I was young. Mostly just for one to two days. I know the Burmese soldiers raped the Karen women so I was afraid. But it didn‘t happen to me while I was a porter.

     How did you feel as you were traveling to this place? Did the KNU help you to come here?

     She said she never helped the KNU because they would be punished “by the SPDC. “I walked with my children for one full day to reach the border. I was very afraid of landmines but I came anyway.”

     How do you feel living in this place?

     I like to live here. It feels like a village. I have many friends, and I visited this place before. I feel homesick but I don‘t dare to go back. I dare not stay in the village.

 Burmese soldiers force villagers out

Name: Naw Wey Lat
Age: 30
Occupation: Farmer
Location:Ler Per Her IDP settlement,

Karen State

     Non Way Lat is married with six children. She came to Ler Per Her at the end of 2004 because she could no longer endure life in her village. Many of the people that had lived in Mae Ken village had filtered away in the past year to IDP settlements within Karen State or to live in another village. Stealing by SPDC soldiers is constant and most menial labor to support the nearby SPDC base is forced upon the villagers without compensation. She left the village because the soldiers had taken almost all her possessions and yearly take away most of her small paddy crop. She had to leave to go to the border with her family in three groups, as a large group would attract the attention of the SPDC patrols. She could also not carry many household goods because it would have alerted the SPDC that she was relocating.

 How did the soldiers act when they came to your village?

     After I harvest the paddy they (SPDC) come and take it all. I have a little left. When the doo-dar (enemy) come into my house I am afraid they will rape me. They call me moy moy (mother mother) to show respect then take (steal) everything. A soldier came into my house and began to speak to me, but I cannot understand so I just ignored him. He became angry and threatened me with his knife then took the pot of rice I was cooking. The soldiers are always suspicious and don trust us.

     Did you ever do forced labor? Yes, around the village. My husband would always hide in the jungle when the SPDC came. When they catch him they make him (become) a porter. He cannot grow crops or work. The SPDC did not send orders, they just took people (away) for labor.

     Where you taken as a forced porter?

     Never. I always avoided the SPDC. All my family has done (portering). In the last year two people from a village were taken as porters and stepped on landmines. They died.

     Did the soldiers ever do anything for you? Provide education, clinics or infrastructure like roads or power?

     They gave us nothing. They only took from us. The SPDC soldiers tried to sell us some medicine for our children. But we knew the medicine was old (expired). I didn’t buy it. It’stoo dangerous. The soldiers get very angry when we don buy.

     Why did you leave?

     I dare not stay in the village. The soldiers steal everything from us.  We leave because of SPDC soldiers not Kawthoolie soldiers (KNU). They took away all my belongings.

     How did you feel as you were traveling to this place?

     Three times we came across SPDC soldiers. I was scared of talking to the soldiers. We could not understand (their questions) and just pointed. We tried to tell them we were just visiting (another village). It took me nearly twelve hours to walk here with two children. How do you feel living in this place? Here is safer and a good place to live. There is a school and clinic, more food. What do you think of the future? I pray for the Burmese soldiers to to leave. I want to go home but I know I cannot.

 

 

 

 

Ceasefire Violations

Burmese army dishonors ceasefire agreements

 

17 December 2004: Democratic Karen Buddhists Army (DKBA) soldiers from 999 Battalion attacked and fired six rockets at Ta Nay Cha Township near Kho Tu village.

23 December 2004: Burmese Light Infantry Brigade (LIB) 599, sent patrols out into Karen National Union controlled areas near the village of Ma La Daw.

25 December 2004: Burmese army soldiers again patrol in and around Ma La Daw village.

25 December 2004: a Burmese soldier from LIB (39) deserted and across to the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) without his weapon.

27 December 2004: at 4:50pm KNLA encountered Burmese army and DKBA soldiers and fighting broke out.

27 December 2004: LIB 26, led by Captain Yan Aung Soe, based at Ler Gi Kho Dan Kah forced 45 villagers from Kai village, 30 villagers from Khaw Bway, 10 villagers from Ler Gi Kho Dan Kha and 25 villagers from Ler Gi Kho Dan Kho. The villagers were ordered to take food to Tha Taung, and carry food supplies to their army base at Ler Gi Kho Dan Gah.

27 December 2004:  KNLA battalion 22 fought with DKBA soldiers from 999 at Oh La Klo no casualties were reported. Taw Ta Tu Township.

8 December 2004: Burmese army soldiers from LIB 57, burnt down a village barn, a farm and a rice field. Fighting broke out between KNLA and the Burmese army at Th Kaw Bwa Soe, two Burmese soldiers were injured.

10 December 2004: Burmese army LIB 73, led by the Captain Maung Maung Soe entered the village of Klaw Mi Dan and abducted nine villagers, including the headman.

27 December 2004: Burmese LIB 26, led by Captain “Yan Aung Soe” and based at Hu Maw Kyaw forcibly took seven villagers from Ku Thu Dan village, four villagers from Sa Ba Lo Khi and seven villagers from Kaw Law Kha to carry supplies from Tha Taung and back to Ha Maw Kyo.

27 December 2004: LIB 73, fought with a KNLA special guerrilla group at Hsi Khei Dan, Hi Taw Kaw area. There was one injured Burmese army soldier.

12 December 2004: Karen army soldiers fought with Burmese troops at Su Mu Lo Klo. Villagers from the Hsaw Hti Township region fled athe fighting and are now hiding. There are 99 household affected from the Saw Thei Khi and 474 villagers. From Hti Bla, 51 households have been displaced and 258 villagers. The Burmese armies are forcing the villagers to porter.

Human Right

Actions speak louder than ceasefire words

 Since the informal ceasefire between the Karen national Union and the Burmese military regime there has been little peace for the Karen people. The Burmese army continues to violate the agreement. The attack villages and Karen army soldiers on a daily basis. Many thousands of villagers are still being forced from their homes and forced to live in jungle shelters, hundreds of people are used as labour to build army camps and carry supplies for the Burmese military. It would be easy to fill Inside News with ceasefire violations alone. Here are some incidents that occurred over a Christmas and New Year holiday period.

17 December 2004: DKBA soldiers from 999 launched an attack against a Karen National Liberation Army battalion using heavy weapons and shells in Ta Nay Char township area.

18 December 2004: LIB 590 based in Bu Has Kee and commandeered by Ko Ko Oo fought with a KNLA special guerrilla force. A Burmese soldier was killed and two wounded. Later on the same day fighting broke out again and a lance corporal was wounded.

19 December 2004: LIB 590 fought with KNLA special guerrilla troops in Pyain Baw Der area one Burmese soldier was killed and one wounded.

20 December 2004: a LIB 389 soldier who had enough fighting surrendered to the KNLA with his weapons; MA 4 and 130 bullets, 640 MM bullets, one M14 bomb, and five magazines.

21 December 2004: Burmese troops fought with the KNLA in Ku Kee area. Two Burmese soldiers were killed and one wounded.

22 December 2004: KNLA troops fought with Burmese troops near Kyaw Na Gar village. The Burmese army broke the ceasefire by shooting first.  KNLA soldier wounded.

22 December 2004: LIB 73 in Thse Ken Der area fought with KNLA troops and a Burmese soldier wounded.

23 December 2004: LIB 73 active in Thse Ken Der fought with KNLA special guerrilla troops and two Burmese wounded.

25 December 2004: LIB 73 fought with KNLA special guerrilla troops at Thse Ken Der one Burmese soldier wounded.

26 December 2004: LIB 73 again fought the KNLA and another soldier wounded.

27 December 2004: Burmese army LIB 73 fought with KNLA forces at Seet Ghan Der, Heet Daw Khaw area. A Burmese soldier was killed.

27 December 2004: soldiers from KNLA battalion number 22 clashed with the DKBA 999 at Oh La River.

28 December 2004: LIB 60 led by battalion commander, Hlaing Myint and vice battalion commander Wing Bo Saing fought with the KNLA at Pyain Baw Der village and surrounded Naw Lu Khu,.

31 December 2004: the KNLA battalion number 21 clashed with DKBA 999 at Ya Kyae village, one DKBA was killed.

6 January 2005: soldiers from LIB 73 patrolling in Seet Ghan Der area clashed with KNLA special guerrilla troops and one soldier from LIB 73 photo: KHRG was wounded.

7 January 2005: KNLA battalion 22 fought with the DKBA 999 in To Kyan Kwee village.

8 January 2005: the KNLA battalion number 5 engaged with DKBA 999 battalion near Pee Ta Ka village and a KNLA soldier was wounded.

Burmese army plant mines during ceasefire

Photo: P.Thornton

 

 

 

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