SHRF MONTHLY REPORT
SHRF MONTHLY REPORT -- DECEMBER 2003
Using imaginary enemies as a pretext to mobilise the mass to distract their attention from focusing on the militarys misdeeds and prevent them from staging protests, has often been one of the successful tactics of the Burmese military juntas that have ruled Burma for more than 4 decades. This tactic is also used to lure new recruits into the Burmese military.
During 2003, using a seemingly impending foreign invasion as a pretext, Burmese military authorities have been forcing the civilian populations in Shan State to undergo peoples militia training in order to be ready to help defend the country if need be. However, what is ridiculous about it is that the people are not being trained to use modern weapons, but bows and arrows and slingshots and pellets, to protect the country against foreign invaders.
Most people, however, are not convinced of the invasion and see it as just one of the Burmese Juntas tactics to divert peoples attention. Furthermore, it is a waste of time and has caused great losses to the farmers, especially during the rice cultivating season, as they have been forced to neglect their crops.
This months issue has given a separate section to some reports related to forced military training in Shan State received by SHRF during 2003.
In one incident, a woman was raped and her father severely beaten by the SPDC troops while her husband was forced to attend a peoples militia training course.
HUSBAND SHOT DEAD, PREGNANT WIFE TORTURED, CAUSING MISCARRIAGE AND SEVERE MENTAL DISTURBANCE, IN NAM-ZARNG
On 23 August 2003, a farmer who was fetching water was shot dead on the bank of Nam Taeng river by a patrol of SPDC troops from 55th Division near Paang Sa village in Loi La village tract, Nam-Zarng township, and later his pregnant wife was beaten and tortured, which caused her to suffer from miscarriage and mental disorder.
Saang Zi-Na, aged 45, and his wife, Naang Non, and some of their fellow villagers were working and staying overnight at their farm near the Nam Taeng river some distance from their village, Paang Sa. Saang Zi-Na was shot dead by the said SPDC troops while he was fetching water on the bank of Nam Taeng river. Half of his face had been blown away and his body was riddled with bullets when it was found by his wife and relatives the next morning.
On 26 August 2003, a column of the same SPDC troops, led by commander Tin Myint, came to Paang Sa village and asked for the wife of the man they had shot dead 3 days ago and arrested Naang Non, Saang Zi-Nas wife. The SPDC troops took Naang Non to a Nam Taeng river harbour, called Ta Zao Murng (guardian spirit harbour), together with another woman, Naang Zaam, they met on the way.
At Ta Zao Murng, the SPDC troops ordered Naang Non and Naang Zaam to show them the boats which they said were used by people in the area. When the women said there was no boat in the area, one of the troops pulled out a piece of split-bamboo from the nearby bamboo fence enclosing the altar of the guardian spirit and beat them until the stick broke. Naang Non was the one who had to bear most of the beating.
After a while, the SPDC troops commander ordered his troops and civilian porters to search the river banks for the boats. At the same time, 2 graves were ordered to be dug in front of the 2 women, saying that if any boat was found in the area they would be executed and buried in those graves.
Even though the search continued until evening, there was no boat to be found and finally the 2 women had to be released. Naang Non suffered from internal injuries from the beating and miscarried her 3-month-old pregnancy 5 days later, and was so mentally disturbed that her relatives thought she had completely gone mad.
A DISPLACED WOMAN KILLED AND SMOKED, IN LAI-KHA
On 27 April 2003, a 63-year-old displaced woman was killed and smoked on a bamboo shelf by a patrol of SPDC troops from IB64 at a remote farm near Lin Muk village (relocated) in Wan Saang village tract, Lai-Kha township.
A displaced family, originally from Lin Muk village which had been forcibly relocated to the outskirts of Lai-Kha town in 1997 by the then SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) troops, had gone to cultivate their farm at their old village. On the day of the incident, grandma Naang, aged 63 and her 8-year-old grandson were at the farm when a patrol of SPDC troops came towards them.
Although the grandson managed to run away and escaped, grandma Naang was caught by the SPDC troops. When they heard about the incident from their son, the parents and their relatives, who had returned home for some reasons, waited until the troops left the farm and went to have a look the next day.
They found grandma Naangs body at the farm, lying on a bamboo shelf with a dead fire under it, partly burnt and blackened with smoke. She was probably killed and her body was put on a bamboo shelf and a fire was lit under it, as if to smoke or roast it like beef.
AKHA VILLAGER SHOT DEAD, ANOTHER ONE WOUNDED, IN MURNG-PHYAK
On 5 July 2003, a patrol of SPDC troops from LIB330 shot at 2 Akha villagers, killing one and wounding the other, near Murng Hai village in Murng-Phyak township.
Ja Shur (m), aged 21 and Ja Lay (m), aged 23, from Pa Yaao village in Nam Naang village tract, Murng-Phyak township, were returning from the town market when they saw a patrol of SPDC troops near Murng Hai village, about halfway between the town and their village. The 2 villagers were so frightened by the sight of the SPDC troops that they both ran away.
The SPDC troops fired several shots after them, killing Ja Lay on the spot and wounding Ja Shur in his left shoulder. Ja Shur escaped and was found and treated by the villagers of Murng Hai before they sent him back to his village, Pa Yaao.
Sometime later, Ja Shur, together with the village and village tract leaders, filed a complaint with the SPDC authorities in Murng-Phyak town and the authorities said they would look into the matter.
BEATING, CAUSING DEATH, IN LAI-KHA
On 8 August 2002, several women of Paang Nawng village in Wan Heng village tract, Lai-Kha township, were detained and beaten by SPDC troops from the military camp at Paang Phone village relocation site. One of the women was so severely beaten that she died of the beating 10 days later.
On the day of the incident, a patrol of about 50 SPDC troops, stationed at Paang Phone village relocation site in Lai-Kha township, came to Paang Nawng village and asked for some men to be their guide. Since it was working time, all men had gone out to work at their fields and farms and there were only some women and children left in the village.
When they could not find any man, the SPDC troops ordered all the women to gather at the village monastery. The women were detained at the monastery and interrogated by the SPDC troops commander whether they had seen Shan soldiers coming their way recently.
As 4 of the women repeatedly said they had not seen any Shan soldiers, the commander called them out and beat them, accusing them of lying. One of the women, Pa Naw, aged 56, begged for mercy and the commander became angrier and beat her severely all over several times until she was rolling on the ground.
Finally, after hours of detention and interrogation, the women were released. Pa Naw, however, did not recover from the injuries she sustained from the beating and died 10 days later.
DISPLACED WOMEN RAPED WHILE GATHERING MUSHROOMS IN KUN-HING
On 21 August 2003, 3 displaced women from Ka Li village relocation site in Kun-Hing township were raped by 4 SPDC troops from IB246, led by commander Tin Win, in the forest north of their village while they were gathering mushrooms.
The 3 women, Naang Nguay, aged 21, Naang Non, aged 30 and Naang Poi, aged 18 (not their real names), were originally from Loi Khio village in Loi Khio village tract, Kun-Hing township, which had been forcibly relocated to Ka Li village relocation site in 1996 by the then SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) troops.
The women were gathering mushrooms together in the forest north of their village when the said 4 SPDC troops suddenly appeared and raped them at gun point. After they had raped the women to their satisfaction, the troops warned the women not to tell anyone about it, or else they would secretly come and shoot dead their whole families.
The women had accordingly kept it secret until on 28 August 2003 when a neighbouring friend of Naang Non, Naang Awng, came and called her to go and gather mushrooms together. In order to prevent other women from meeting the same fate, Naang Non had to relate her plight to Naang Awng.
For some time after the incident, women in the village dared not go to gather mushrooms in the forest by themselves without the company of at least 4-5 men.
A VILLAGER FORCED TO SERVE AS A GUIDE DISAPPEARS, IN NAM-ZARNG
In October 2002, a displaced villager at Kaad Lur village relocation site in Haai Laai village tract, Nam-Zarng township, was conscripted to serve as a guide by local SPDC troops and he has since then disappeared up until the present.
Zaai Sai, aged 26, and his family were originally from Haai Laai village which had been forcibly relocated to Kaad Lur relocation site in 1997 by the then SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) troops.
In late October 2003, Zaai Sai was taken away by the said SPDC troops to serve as a guide and has not returned since then, leaving his wife and 2 small children alone to fend for themselves in the relocation site of Kaad Lur.
Zaai Sais wife, Naang Htun, and their son and daughter, aged 6 and 4 respectively, had to face tremendous difficulties trying to survive and waited for him for several months in the relocation site. But he did not return and Naang Htun did not know whether he was still alive or not.
As life became more and more difficult for Naang Htun and her children in the relocation site and she could no longer feed her children, she recently decided to follow other people who were coming to Thailand, hoping she would at least be able to work and earn enough to feed her 2 children.
BEATING AND TORTURE OF DISPLACED VILLAGERS DURING FORCED LABOUR, IN KUN-HING
On 24 July 2003, 3 displaced villagers who had been conscripted to serve as porters were severely beaten and tortured until they lost consciousness 2-3 times by SPDC troops from IB246 in a forest in Kun-Hing township.
The 3 villagers -- Ti-Ya (m), aged 31, Kaw-Lin (m), aged 26 and Zit-Ta (m), aged 35 -- were originally from Loi Keng village in Loi Keng village tract, Kun-Hing township, that had been forcibly relocated to Kun-Hing town relocation site in 1996 by the then SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) troops.
On the day of the incident, a patrol of about 45-50 SPDC troops from IB246, led by Capt. Than Maung Oo, told a community headman at Kun-Hing relocation site that they needed 3 villagers to serve as porters, and the said 3 villagers were provided.
At first, the 3 villagers were forced to carry military things and go with the patrol. At one point in a forest, the SPDC troops started asking the villagers about the whereabouts of Shan soldiers. When the villagers said they did not know, the troops beat and tortured them.
The SPDC troops put plastic bags over the villagers heads and beat them so harshly during interrogation that each of them lost consciousness at least 2 times. Even though the villagers had been conscripted only to serve as porters, they were tortured for not knowing where Shan soldiers were.
VILLAGERS HARASSED AND PUNISHED FOR FAILING TO FIND ARMY DESERTERS, IN KUN-HING
In August 2003, in their search for army deserters, a patrol of SPDC troops forced some villagers to guide their way, arrested some more and detained them all as punishment for failing to find the deserters, at Wan Lao village in Wan Lao village tract, Kun-Hing township.
On 19 August 2003, a patrol of about 80 joint SPDC troops from IB246 and LIB524, led by the commander of Kun-Hing-based Tactical Command, came to Wan Lao village and forced the village tract headman to guide their way in their search for some army deserters, which they believed had come in the direction of Wan Lao.
The SPDC troops searched the surrounding areas and on 21 August 2003, they conscripted 7 more villagers, all women, from Kot Pung and Kung Sa villages to serve as guides. When they got back to Wan Lao village, on finding no men, the troops arrested women, each from every house.
All the villagers, including the newly arrested and previously conscripted, were gathered at a public pavilion near Wan Laos Buddhist monastery and told by the SPDC troops that they would be detained there until the army deserters and their guns were captured.
The villagers were still being detained in mid September 2003 when they were last seen by some people passing through Wan Lao.
FORCED MILITARY TRAINING AND SERVICE IN SHAN STATE
Since early 2003, SPDC authorities in several townships in Shan State have been forcibly conscripting people to train as peoples militia and serve the military. Furthermore, since around mid 2003, the SPDC authorities have been forcing civilian populations in Shan State, including government servants, to undergo military training, causing great losses to farmers who have to neglect their crops.
The following are some reports on forced peoples militia service and forced military training which SHRF has received during 2003.
YOUNG MEN FORCED TO TRAIN AS PEOPLES MILITIA IN MURNG-KERNG
In March 2003, the SPDC commander of LIB514 issued an order requiring young men, between 18 and 25 years of age, in Murng-Kerng township to serve as peoples militia.
On 2 March 2003, the battalion commander of LIB514 issued an order saying that young men, aged between 18 and 25 years, who were not attending school were required to register their names with the military authorities no later than 15 April 2003.
These young men were to receive military training and later serve as peoples militia. The parents of those who failed to register or tried to avoid registration would have to pay a fine of 300,000 kyat for each man. All young men, no matter how many from a single family, were to register without fail or face the said fine.
Parents whose children were all or mostly sons were so afraid that all their children would have to serve the Burmese military, leaving virtually no one to help them with their daily chores, that many fled to other places.
FORCED MILITARY TRAINING IN TA-KHI-LAEK
In July 2003, SPDC authorities in Ta-Khi-Laek issued an order requiring civilian populations in the township to train as peoples militia, causing many farmers to have to neglect their crops during training.
On 21 July 2003, an order was issued by the SPDC authorities to headmen and community leaders in Ta-Khi-Laek township to give the names of all the men, aged between 18 and 50 years, in their respective areas to the military authorities.
Those who were enlisted were to undergo peoples militia training in batches, 21 days for each batch, and were banned from travelling before they had completed their training. Not less than 1,000 people were to be trained as peoples militia in each village tract in Ta-Khi-Laek township, said the order.
The first batch of training started on 25 July 2003 with 90 people in Murng Phong village tract, under the supervision of Maj. Moe Kyaw Thu from No.3 Tactical Command. The training started at 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. every day during the training course without holiday, and the civilian trainees had to provide their own food.
The training was said to be for protecting their respective villages and village tracts, but what the trainees actually had to do was listen to patriotic doctrines, telling them to love their nation and country, and practise with sticks and slingshots every day. The trainees had to crouch, crawl and shoot their slingshots, using clay pellets made by themselves, all day long and the one who shot straightest got a distinction mark at the end of the day.
Many people thought this was ridiculous and a waste of time, which had caused a lot of trouble and losses for the farmers, since it was cultivating time, and for people who needed to work to earn day wages to feed their families.
A WOMAN RAPED, HER FATHER BEATEN, WHILE HER HUSBAND FORCED TO ATTEND PEOPLES MILITIA TRAINING, IN LAI-KHA
In early August 2003, a woman was raped by SPDC troops from IB64 at a rice field near Ta Maak Laang village about 4-5 miles north of Lai-Kha town, and later her father was beaten by the same troops until he lost consciousness, at their house in Maak Laang village.
Naang Nyo (not her real name), aged 20, had to go to tend their rice field alone outside their village since her husband was forced to attend a 45-day peoples militia training by the SPDC authorities, during which many people in Lai-Kha township also had to attend.
Sometime in early August 2003, while Naang Nyo was tending their rice field alone, 3 SPDC troops from IB64 came and gang-raped her at the edge of the rice field, and left after all of them had raped her to their satisfaction.
About 3-4 days later, the same SPDC troops came to Naang Nyos house in Maak Laang village at about 6:30 in the evening. They said that Naang Nyos husband wanted to smoke and told her to take 50 rolls of cheroot and go with them immediately, and that she could return soon after.
Naang Nyo said she dared not go and her father told the SPDC troops that it was already quite late and begged them to let her go on the next day morning. The SPDC troops became angry and one of them struck Naang Nyos father harshly in the back with his rifle butt, causing him to fall prone on the ground and lose consciousness.
After beating Naang Nyos father, the SPDC troops left immediately. Naang Nyo then ran out and called for help, and some villagers and leaders came to her house. Naang Nyos father was treated by some village elders and he regained consciousness after about 20 minutes.
FORCED MILITARY TRAINING IN MURNG-TON
In August 2003, people in Murng-Ton township were forced to attend military training by SPDC authorities of the Eastern Regional Command.
On 8 August 2003, the SPDC commander of the Triangle Regional Command came to Murng-Sart town and issued an order to the people in Murng-Ton township requiring them to attend a course of military training.
Each village tract, such as Murng Taw, Murng Thaa, Murng Jawt, Pung Pa Khem, Murng Haang and Me Ken, had to provide 1,000 men, aged between 16 and 50, to attend the training. All the government servants in the township were also required to attend the training.
It was learned that the military training started on 13 August 2003 in Pung Pa Khem village tract; on 10 August 2003 in Murng-Ton town area and on 11 August 2003 in Me Ken village tract, and the other village tracts followed later.
As the training progressed, there were a lot of complaints from those who had to attend, especially the farmers. Some said they were forced to neglect their newly planted rice fields; some said weeds had grown longer than the rice plants in their farms and some said their rice fields had dried up because they could not go to irrigate them.
FORCED MILITARY TRAINING IN MURNG-NAI
In August 2003, people in Murng-Nai township were forced to undergo military training by the township SPDC authorities who explained that everyone had to train as peoples militia to protect the country from outside invasion.
In Murng-Nai town area, the training ground was in the compound of the former palace of the prince of Murng-Nai. All the townspeople, both men and women, including government servants, aged between 15 and 45, were required to attend the training.
The training was held in batches, each batch comprised 100 persons and the course was 20 days. Those who completely failed to attend a training course with their batches as designated would face a punishment of a one-month prison term. Those who partly failed to attend would have to pay a fine of 1,500 kyat for each day.
BEATING DURING PEOPLES MILITIA TRAINING IN KUN-HING
In September 2003, some villagers were kicked and beaten by SPDC troops from LIB524 and IB246 during a military training course in Kun-Hing township, so that some of them had to suffer from physical injuries.
In a training course which included women and men over 50 years of age, some who could not keep up with the rest of the trainees were kicked and beaten by their trainers so severely that many were injured. Some of those who were injured were:
1. Lung Kawn (m), aged 54, suffered from a broken rib
2. Lung Leng (m), aged 55, suffered from a severely sprained waist
3. Pa Ming (f), aged 31, suffered from bruises and sprains in the arms and legs from being kicked
These 3 villagers had not yet recovered from their injuries when they were seen by some travellers in mid November 2003.
EXTORTION AFTER PEOPLES MILITIA TRAINING IN KUN-HING
Since November 2003, a patrol of SPDC troops from LIB524 have been inspecting the houses of those who had completed their peoples militia training courses in Kun-Hing township, and extorted money form those who do not have the arms instructed by the authorities.
At the end of each training course, an instruction was given that each house was required to keep 1 bow and 300 arrows, and 1 catapult and 500 clay pellets. On inspection, the SPDC troops are forcing the villagers to pay in cash for having fewer arrows and pellets than the required numbers -- 100 kyat for each missing arrow and 10 kyat for each missing pellet.