What election? For the Burma Army it’s business as usual

A report from the Karen Human Rights Group accuses the Burma Army of extortion and using villagers for forced labor on army bases. The report issued as a KHRG bulletin was written by a villager in the Nyaunglebin District of Karen State.

The villager says last years national election did nothing to change the Burma Army’s abuse of villagers.

“The soldiers still force villagers to work for them and demand things from the villagers.”

The villager records in the KHRG bulletin that in May this year Light Infantry Battalion 345 ordered villagers in the Ler Doh Township to dismantle their farm huts or pay 3,500kyat. On June 13, Captain Thet Zaw Win from LIB 345 ordered 400 households from five villages to bring bamboo and wood to repair the Burma Army camp. July 19th Captain Way Pyo Thu, from LIB 345 ordered villagers to clear vegetation from a 50m deep area around the army camp – it took the 20 villagers used daily, five days to complete the work. In July the Ler Doh Township Security Director demanded free food from villagers for a month. The villagers report said.

“The villagers cannot raise enough animals [to meet soldiers’ demands for food]. Each household had to pay about 3,000kyat (US $3.90) each month into a village fund. If they demand a lot of food, the village head has to collect more money, about 8,000kyat (US $10.39) from the villagers.

Captain Thet Zaw Win, LIB 345 Company Commander ordered villagers pay for four prepaid phone cards costing a total of 150,000kyat. The Captain ordered the villagers say nothing about the extortion. Captain Thet Zaw Win in July this year ordered villagers to buy empty fertilizer bags to be used to fortify the army camp.

To see the full report go to: www.khrg.org

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