SHRF MONTHLY REPORT
SHRF MONTHLY REPORT -- MAY 2003
For some time now, as mentioned in the Commentary of the last issue of this newsletter, disguising themselves and creating confusion have become one of the tactics used by the SPDC troops in Shan State in committing human rights violations, in order to prevent themselves from being recognized and to put the blame on other groups active in the respective areas.
Recently, the SPDC troops have taken further steps to try and incite sentiment against the Shan resistance and to extort money from the local people.
The SPDC troops not only blame other groups but also accuse the local people of supporting those groups, and tell them not to support such groups who have committed human rights violations against their relatives and loved ones.
In a case reported in this issue, the SPDC troops killed Shan farmers and put the blame on the Shan rebels and told the local people to stop supporting them. (see first story)
In another case, the SPDC troops shot dead 2 monks and told the local people it was Shan rebels who did it, and extorted money from them to help cover up the news. (see second story)
However, in both cases many local people knew it was SPDC troops who did it but no one dared to argue for fear of reprisal.
Many observers also reasoned that it is not logical for Shan rebels to kill their own kin in such a way, since most villagers are one way or another related to members of the Shan resistance.
7 DISPLACED FARMERS SHOT DEAD IN LAI-KHA
On 26 February 2003, 7 displaced farmers were shot dead by a patrol of SPDC troops in a farm hut at a remote farm near Haai Seng village (relocated) in Haai Seng village tract, Lai-Kha township.
The farmers were originally from Haai Seng village which had been relocated to the outskirts of Lai-Kha town in 1997 by the then SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) troops. During the rice growing season in 2002, they managed to obtain permission in the form of a pass from the local SPDC military authorities to go and cultivate their rice farm at their old village.
The farmers had to renew their pass every 10 days and pay 100 Kyat for each person every time, until by February 2003 the rice was harvested and temporarily stored in bamboo granaries at the farm, and transported a little at a time back to the relocation site.
They were in the process of transporting the rice when on the day of the incident they were shot dead in the hut at the farm. Lung Sa (m), aged 53, who was returning from fetching water and heard the gun shots as he reached the edge of the farm, ran back to the relocation site, and before long the villagers saw a patrol of about 15 SPDC troops from IB246 in camouflage military fatigues pass by their village from the direction of Haai Seng village.
The villagers dared not go to look at the farm and later reported the incident to the SPDC troops at IB246 base. The SPDC troops said they would send some troops to search the place and told the villagers not to go there until they were allowed by the troops.
After 2 nights, the villagers were permitted to go to the farm. When they got there the villagers saw the farm had been looted. All the rice and other food stuff had been taken away, and nothing was left at the farm, not even a knife or a hoe. The bodies of those killed were already badly swollen and decaying.
The 7 farmers shot dead were:
1. Lung Nan-Ta (m), aged 51
2. Pa Ming (f), aged 50
3. Zaai Mawng (m), aged 40
4. Zaai Ku (m), aged 24
5. Zaai Pun-Nya (m), aged 21
6. Naang Seng Lu (f), aged 20
7. Naang Kam (f), aged 19
Later, SPDC military authorities were said to have told the village and community leaders in the area that it was Shan rebels who had shot dead the farmers, saying You think that your Shan soldiers love you. But they are not only demanding rice and money from you, but are also killing your loved ones. From now on, instead of helping them you should turn to us and tell us their whereabouts as soon as possible. We are government soldiers. Even Khun Sas 7-80,000-strong MTA (Mong Tai Army) had to surrender to us. This remaining handful of Shan soldiers are nothing.
Even though there were many people who knew that it was all done by SPDC troops, no one dared to argue about it.
MONKS KILLED, MONEY EXTORTED FROM VILLAGERS, IN KUN-HING
On 29 March 2003, SPDC troops from IB246 shot dead a Buddhist monk and wounded another, who later died at a hospital, at Tham Loi Kong forest monastery 1-1/2 miles southwest of Kun-Hing town, Kun-Hing township.
On the day of the incident, at about 4:30 hrs. early in the morning, a group of SPDC troops in camouflage military fatigues came and knocked at the door of the said monastery. As the abbot monk opened the door and lit a candle, the SPDC troops came into the monastery and without mentioning a word shot dead the abbot monk.
One of the 2 novice monks who saw the incident and recognized the SPDC troops, Zao Long Kaw, aged 43, jumped out of the monastery and ran away into the dark, and was wounded as the troops shot after him. He ran to Loi Kong village, about 1 mile west of the monastery, and was sent to the hospital in Kun-Hing town by the villagers of that village, who also immediately reported the incident to the SPDC troops of IB246.
The other novice monk, aged 13, crept away and escaped without being seen by the SPDC troops.
The wounded novice monk stayed at the hospital from about 7 oclock in the morning until 4 oclock in the evening and died. Before he died he told everyone he could that it was SPDC troops who shot him and the abbot monk and that among the troops he clearly recognized Capt. Than Naing Oo of Co.3 who had often visited the monastery in the past.
The abbot monk was a Mon national, 83 years old and carried a monk title U Uttama, and had been living at the monastery for 4 years and 9 months. The elderly monk and the 2 novice monks were supported by the villagers of Loi Kong village for their daily necessities at the monastery.
After they had taken care of the bodies of the monks, about 15 leaders and elders of Loi Kong village were summoned to the IB246 base by the battalion commander. The commander then said to the villagers, Concerning the case in which Shan soldiers shot dead our Burman monk, I will help cover it up, but you Loi Kong villagers must find 200,000 Kyat of money for me. I will report it to my superiors so that the news does not spread. The villagers dared not argue, but collected the money among themselves and gave it to the commander within 15 days.
A VILLAGE HEADMAN AND A WOMAN SHOT DEAD WHILE SERVING AS GUIDES IN LAI-KHA
On 14 February 2003, a village headman and a woman were forced to serve as guides and shot dead in the rural area east of Lai-Kha town, Lai-Kha township, by a column of SPDC troops, said to be from Murng-Mit township.
In the morning of that day, a column of about 50 SPDC troops, known only to have come from Murng-Mit township in northwestern Shan State, came to Nawng Leng village in Wan Yurng village tract, Lai-Kha township, and forced the village headman, Paw Thawn, aged 47, to serve as a guide.
The SPDC troops patrolled the rural area east of Lai-Kha town and when they got to a place called Huay Nam Waw Khe, at about 10 oclock in the morning, they shot dead Paw Thawn and buried him there.
The SPDC troops continued to patrol the area and forcibly took a woman, Naang Lu, aged 38, from Nam Pa Kaang village to serve as a guide and lead them back towards Lai-Kha town. When they reached a place called Nam Waw Mon, some distance southwest of Nam Pa Kaang village, at around 1 oclock in the afternoon, the troops shot dead Naang Lu, and continued to Lai-Kha town. When they reached the town they told people that they had gone after some army deserters and had shot dead all of them.
The next day, some villagers and relatives of the headman from Nawng Leng village set out to look for their headman, asking people along the way whether they had seen SPDC troops and their headman. Villagers of Nam Pa Kaang said that they had seen only SPDC troops but not the headman, and the troops had even taken away Naang Lu from their village as a guide and she had not yet returned, and they had also heard several gunshots in the morning and the afternoon the day before.
Villagers from both villages then went in search of their missing villagers and finally found the bodies of Paw Thawn and Naang Lu at the places where they had been shot dead.
RAPE AND KILLING OF FIREWOOD GATHERERS IN LAI-KHA
On 12 March 2003, 3 women from Wan Pan village in Paang Saang village tract, Lai-Kha township, were raped and killed by SPDC troops from LIB515 in the forest about 3 miles from Lai-Kha town.
At about 9 oclock in the morning of that day, 3 young women, Naang Kham, aged 19, Naang Kha, aged 17 and Naang Mung, aged 15, from Wan Pan village went together to gather firewood in the forest and had not returned until after 3 oclock in the afternoon, prompting their parents and relatives to go looking for them.
On the way some distance from the village, the villagers met 4 SPDC soldiers from LIB515 led by Corporal Maung Soe, who asked where they were going and they told the soldiers about their missing daughters.
The SPDC soldiers then told the villagers that there were no villagers out there in the forest except for 2 elderly wood cutters who had told them there was a group of 20-30 villains roaming around, so they had brought in more than 40 troops to search the forest. There are now more than 40 of our troops out there. If you go now you can be shot on sight without being asked or warned.
Hearing that, the villagers, about 13 in all, dared not go any farther and returned to their village. When they finally went to look for the women, after 2-3 days, they found their bodies lying naked at different places in the forest, with clear signs of having been raped.
DISPLACED 10-YEAR-OLD GIRL AND A WOMAN RAPED, THE GIRL LATER DIED, IN NAM-ZARNG
On 2 March 2003, a 10-year-old Shan girl and a Lahu woman were raped by 5 SPDC soldiers from IB66 in a deserted farm about 2 miles from Kho Lam village in Kho Lam village tract, Nam-Zarng township, after which the girl died from her suffering.
On the day of the incident, Naang Mon, aged 10, went with a neighbour, Pa Na-Khaa, a Lahu woman, aged over 30, to collect wild vegetables outside Kho Lam village relocation site. They were originally from Nam Khaai village in Nawng Hee village tract which had been forcibly relocated to Kho Lam in 1997 by the then SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) troops.
While they were collecting wild vegetables in a deserted farm about 2 miles from Kho Lam relocation site, 5 SPDC troops from IB66 suddenly appeared and raped both of them at gun point. After she and Naang Mon got back home, Pa Na-Khaa lodged a complaint with the IB66 camp commander at Kho Lam and he said he would take responsibilities for his men who had done wrong.
On 4 March 2003, Naang Mon had to be taken to the hospital in Tawng-Gi (Taunggyi), the Capital of Shan State, by her relatives. Naang Mon, however, did not recover and died on 7 March 2003 at the hospital.
When Naang Mons parents and relatives tried to ask 300,000 Kyat of money as compensation for Naang Mon from the SPDC troops, they were told to shut up and threatened with imprisonment, and further threatened even with death if they were found to have told outsiders about the incident.
BEATING AND TORTURE FOR FAILING TO PROVIDE CHICKENS IN KAENG-TUNG
On 3 March 2003, 4 civilian truck drivers were beaten and forced to stand in the sun for 2 hours by SPDC troops from LIB314 for failing to provide chickens demanded by the troops at the checkpoint at Nam Ping river bridge in Kaeng-Tung township.
The checkpoint was situated between Kaeng-Tung town area and Special Region No.4, a ceasefire territory headquartered in Murng Laa, a trading town on the border with China. Each day, about 40-50 trucks passed the checkpoint, mostly transporting Chinese goods from the border to Kaeng-Tung town.
Each truck was obliged to pay 2,000 Kyat duty at the checkpoint to get a pass. However, the SPDC troops manning the checkpoint had made it a point that each truck also provide 1 chicken apart from the 2000 Kyat duty. Those who forgot to bring the demanded chickens faced a lot of trouble at the checkpoint.
On the day of the incident, 2 trucks, each with 2 drivers, carrying Chinese goods from the border had forgotten to bring the chickens with them and got into trouble with the SPDC troops at the checkpoint. Even after the drivers had paid the tax money and apologized for forgetting to bring the chickens and promised to bring twice as many next time, the troops refused to let them go and kept demanding they get the chickens immediately.
When one of the drivers lost his patience and uttered, Oh! Thats too much, the soldier in charge, Sgt. Tin Naing, became angry and scolded, beat, kicked and slapped each of them 2-3 times and ordered them to stand in the sun for 2 hours, from 13:00 to 15:00 hrs.
When they were finally let go, the drivers were warned not to forget to bring the chickens next time or else they would be jailed under the ground, and the Sergeant actually pointed to a hole in the ground nearby for them to see. The 4 drivers were: Ka-Lin, aged 41, Zing Nyunt, aged 36, Zaai Phat, aged 19 and Zaai Ting, aged 20.
ARREST, DETENTION AND TORTURE, LAND AND PROPERTY CONFISCATION, EXTORTION, IN KUN-HING
In January 2003, the land and property of a villager was confiscated and 15 village leaders were arrested, tortured and detained for 6 days, and money was extorted for their release, by SPDC troops of IB246, in Kun-Hing township.
Following a skirmish in Ka Li village in Ka Li village tract, Kun-Hing township, with an unknown armed group in the evening of 10 January 2003, in which 1 SPDC soldier was killed, SPDC troops from IB246 suspected it was Shan soldiers and arrested 15 villagers of Ka Li, including the headman, Lung Kaang Nyo, aged 51.
Lung Hom, a well-to-do villager of Ka Li who was also to be arrested, was not at home at the time of the SPDC troops arrival. So the troops confiscated his property, including a medium-sized tractor, 2 rice mills, 2 small-sized tractors, 27 tons of lumber and a concrete house with a compound.
The 15 villagers were detained in a jail at a military camp and interrogated for 6 days and 5 nights, during which they were beaten and tortured, and finally money was extorted for their release, by the SPDC troops. The Ka Li village headman had to pay 100,000 Kyat and the 14 others had to pay 50,000 Kyat each for their release.
Lung Kaang Nyo, the Ka Li village headman, was so severely beaten during his detention that his eyes were still black and painful until several weeks after his release.
LAND SEIZED, VILLAGE HEADMAN BEATEN, BY MEMBER OF WA CEASEFIRE GROUP IN MURNG-TON
During late February and early March 2003, some land in Naa Kawng Mu village was forcibly taken and the village tract headman of Murng Haang village tract was severely beaten and detained by a member of UWSA (United Wa State Army) ceasefire group, in Murng-Ton township.
On 27 February 2003, a Corporal from UWSA, Ai Sa, aged 24, was fencing a house compound he had forcibly and cheaply bought in Naa Kawng Mu village in Murng Haang village tract, Murng-Ton township. In fencing his compound, Ai Sa forcibly built his fence about 4-5 yards into the compound of a neighbour house, after destroying the original fence.
When the owner of the neighbouring house, Lung Mu-Lin (m), aged 54, tried to tell Ai Sa that he was encroaching on his land which he had inherited from his ancestors, pointing at the demarcation line where the original fence had stood, Ai Sa simply said, So what? I did that because I want the land.
On 1 March 2003, unable to persuade Ai Sa to move back his fence, Lung Mu-Lin lodged a complaint with the village tract headman of Murng Haang village tract, Pu Haeng La Mawng. When the headman inspected the place and found Ai Sa having done wrong, he told him thus.
Ai Sa, however, did not see the case as the headman did, but became angry and shouted at the headman, Is it your land? What do you have to do with it, and beat him on the head with his pistol butt. Ai Sa continued to beat and kick the headman until he was soaked with blood all over and lost consciousness for about 40 minutes, and locked him up for 1 night and 1 day.
On his release, the headman reported the incident to the SPDC authorities who summoned the head of UWSA in the area, Paw Thao Saam, and asked him about it. Later, Paw Thao Saam simply ordered Ai Sa to move to a neighbouring village, Huay Aw, and the case was closed. The SPDC authorities did nothing for the headman in terms of demanding compensation or punishing the culprit.
According to the local people, there have been several similar cases in which members of UWSA forcibly seized lands or houses of the local people since they came to the area a few years ago.
They also often took the fruit from the orchards of the local people without asking or paying for them, and when the owners tried to stop them or tell them to spare some of the fruit, they usually shouted at the owners to shut up, and sometimes even beat, kicked and slapped the owners on the mouth.
LAND SEIZED FOR WA SETTLERS IN MURNG-TON
In January 2003, on the orders of local SPDC military authorities, members of UWSA (United Wa State Army) ceasefire group seized land from local villagers in Murng Haang village tract, Murng-Ton township, for a group of Wa settlers who they had relocated from northeastern Shan State.
The Wa were resettled at an old village, Nam Hoo, northeast of Murng Haang village. In allotting land for cultivation to the Wa settlers, the UWSA also seized some land, including rice fields, vegetable gardens and woodland, from the local villagers, on the orders of the commander of IB65 of the SPDC.
When the owners of the confiscated land tried to file a complaint with the SPDC township authorities in Murng-Ton town in order to get back their land, they were told that the local SPDC troops had given the land to the Wa only because they were ordered by their superiors and no one could do anything about it.
Some of the villagers who lost almost all of their land on which they had to depend for their livelihood were shocked, but there was nothing they could do, except to walk out of the SPDC township office, crying.
ROBBERY IN MURNG-SART AND KUN-HING
The following are some instances of how SPDC military patrols in Shan State usually behave in the villages along the route they take.
On 1 January 2003, a patrol of SPDC troops from Kaeng-Tung-based IB245, led by Maj. Aung Win, forcibly took the following property from the villagers of Wan Kun and Wan Long villages in Murng Lung village tract, Murng-Sart township.
1. Wan Kun village monastery lost about 1 kg of dried chillies worth 120 Kyat
2. Naang Non (f), of Wan Long village lost 1 pig worth 2,500 Kyat
3. Zaai In (m), of Wan Long village lost 3 ducks and 3 chickens, worth 900 Kyat
On 14 January 2003, a column of about 70 SPDC troops from Kaeng-Tung-based IB245, led by Maj. Aung Win, robbed the villagers of Wan Thurn Long village in Murng Lung village tract, Murng-Sart township, of the following property.
1. Paw Zan (m), lost 1 male pig worth 2,000 Kyat and 1 female pig worth 3,500 Kyat
2. Paw Zerm (m), lost 31 chickens
3. Paw Zum (m), lost 2 chickens
4. Paw Ai Kham (m), lost 3 chickens, 1 dog and 1 cat
On 19 January 2003, a column of SPDC from IB296 came to Naa Keng village in Kaeng Lom village tract, Kun-Hing township and forced all the villagers to gather at one place, and searched all the houses and took away the following property.
Saw-Ya (m), lost 1 musket, 1 packet of seasoning powder, 1 set of Lao clothes, 1 wrist watch, and 1 pair of shoes which he was holding
Taw-Na (m), lost 1/2 bushel of rice, 2 cooking pots, 1 pair of shoes and other food stuff
Maha Zing (m), lost 4 pyi of rice, 5 bottles of rice whiskey, 5 viss of pork, 2 packets of seasoning powder, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 packets of salt and 1 knife
In-Da (m), lost 1 musket, 1 cat and all other food stuff
De-Win (m), lost 2 chickens and 2 pairs of shoes
Kham Lu (m), lost 2 pairs of shoes and 1 pair of sock
Zaai Pan (m), lost 2 pairs of shoes and 2 bundles of cheroots
Pan-Ta (m), lost 1 rice canteen and 2 pairs of shoes
Naai Phon (f), lost 2 pairs of shoes and all other food stuff
10. Naai Lam (f), lost 1 pair of shoes
On 20 January 2003, a patrol of SPDC troops from IB296 seized a musket and a knife from Aw-Nan-Ti (m), aged 23, and arrested him, at Naa Keng village in Kaeng Lom village tract. Kun-Hing township. Aw-Nan-Ti was not yet released at the end of January 2003.