Mortar shells launched by local the Burma Army terrifies local villagers living in the area along the route the Burma Army uses to transport food rations to its soldiers in Papun Township.
Villagers said that in Papun areas, it is common, the Burma Army fires mortar rounds into areas they are suspicious of whenever they send their rations to frontline bases and outposts along the Thai-Burma borders.
A villager from Ya Plo Dae, one of the affected villages said shelling this year is worse than previous years and the mortars are being fired respectively by six battalions under Burma Army, Division 101 based in Papun Township and Kyaukkyi Township in Eastern Pegu Division.
“There are [army] outposts all along the road. They [Burma army] shell any area they are suspicious of. They fire into farms close to the road. Villagers with farms near the road dare not go to work and villagers close to the road are scared mortar shells will hit them.”
Since early October, Burma army Infantry Battalions 235, 254, 258, 255, 259 and Light Infantry Battalion 439 have been sending food rations such as rice, salt, beans and milk to their frontline bases and outposts by trucks and horses. The troops are based in Bin Pyar, Ka Tae, Hsaw Mi Lu, Kho Pla Lay Kho, Muthae in Kyaukyi Township and Kaser Takwi, Paw Khay Kho, Pla Kho, Ku Kwa Kho, Kaw Thwe Soe, Maw Poo, Ler Klay Soe and Saw Hta in Papun Township.
The Karen Teacher Working Group (KTWG) – a community based organization working in the area explained that since the Burma Army started shelling in early October, some village schools have had to close and reopen several times.
Saw Eh Doh Wah, a senior officer from KTWG said.
“Many village schools near the road had to stop classes during the shelling. We don’t know exactly how many schools have been affected.”
So far the shelling has affected the villages of Kywe Chan, Hsaw Mi Lu, Aung Soe Moe, Muthae, Pwah Gaw in Kyaukkyi Township and Yu Wah Der, Per Ler Der, Thoo Bee Der, Tha Thwee Der, Wai Nor Der, He Poe Der, Ta Oh Der, Patay Der, Pa Dae Der, Tay Mu Der, Kaw Wei Der, Baw Lo Der, Ku Day, Tha Dah Der, Ta Kawh Toh Baw, Wa Law Moo Der, Lah Eh Der, Paw Mu Der and Thet Htee in Papun Township.