Burmese soldiers harassing villagers
Burma Army soldiers on patrol harass villagers after accusing them of contacting with SSA soldiers in the area of Mongkeung and Kehsi Townships, Southern Shan State.
By Hseng Khio Fah (Tel:
On 26 January 2008, Mong Keung townships’ Pangketu based Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 292 commander Major Soe Win Khaing dressed as a villager and with a teacher went into Pong Yeng village in order to collect taxes on poppy fields, livestock such as cows, teak as well as transportation tax.
On the way, he was ambushed and shot in his thigh. It remains unknown who had shot him. He then accused that it was the SSA and went to arrest the village headman Sai Chit, and beat him up until he bled on the head. The wound was sewn 7 to 8 stitches at Mongkeung hospital, according to a local source.
“Our headman did not get any compensation. Also,Major Soe Win Khaing’s company interrogated and beat up villagers when they went house searching for SSA soldiers,” said a villager who wishes to remain anonymous.
Many similar incidents occurred around the area.
On 4 January, 2008, at 13:00 PM, Major Thurain Tun of Mongpawn-based Light Infantry Battalion 517 led his company from Wan Kyawng, Mong Khun tract and forced the villagers to buy things such as condensed milk and rice from them. “They came and sold the bad rice that they got from their ration. They said they did not want to eat this bad rice, that’s why they sold to us. It was not fair, but we could not do anything,” complained a villager.
Again on 11 January, 2008, at 16:00pm, the same unit, surrounded Wan Nawng Khio and detained one of the villagers Sai Nandaw and asked, “ Did you see SSA soldiers go through this way?” and he replied, “ No, I didn’t see”. He was then hit and beaten with the butt of the gun and was punched on the back of his neck, said a villager.
They then went to arrest 4 villagers, Sai Kean, Sai Pang, Sai Lern and Sai Kar to carry things for them to Mong Nawng. They had to carry about 20 viss (1viss= 1.6 Kg) each. They have not returned home yet. “Burma Army ordered villagers not to inform the SSA or the 4 villagers will be dead,” he added.
Moreover on 20 January 2008, Major Thurein Tun led a 50 strong patrol and encountered the SSA at a place called Five Banyan Trees, near Pang Hpone village, Mong Yai tract, Kehsi Township, and the clash lasted for 1hour.
The Burma Army lost 7 soldiers and 8 were injured and 2 SSA soldiers were injured.
“After the clash, some Burmese soldiers went into hiding at Pang Hpone while some ran back to Mong Nang and the injured soldiers were treated at Mong Nawng hospital,” said another local source.
Some Burmese soldiers saw 3 villagers harvesting in the farm on the way to Mong Nang, and detained them. One was killed and two were tied and taken with them. The person killed was named Long Hsaw, 50 year old, lived in Mu Nao village, Mong Nang tract.
“Burmese military are so harsh on the villagers without any solid reason. Whenever they are attacked by the SSA, they always take revenge on the villagers,” said a villager.