After Bombing, Displacing Villagers… Burma Army and its BGF Militia Begin the Robbing and Looting

Soldiers from the Burma Army and its Border Guard Force (BGF) militia broke in and stole large quantities of supplies from houses in Lay Kay and Wintapan villages, Bilin Township, Thaton District. The soldiers took advantage, after villagers were forced to abandon their homes after intense shelling. More than 30 village houses were broken into, most of them shops. A resident, who asked not to be named, said the soldiers thrashed the houses, but stole food stocks to take to their camps.

A villager explained to Karen News villagers were scared of the Burma Army and BGF soldiers. “Now gunfire is less, some people have started to sleep in nearby villages. When they saw BGF soldiers from the camp patrolling the village, all the people sleeping in the village ran. Most houses were also broken into. In the past, we had to flee when the Burma Army came. Now we have to run when Karen [BGF] torments each other – it’s hard to take.”

Villagers told Karen News that the soldiers didn’t stop at breaking into houses – chickens, pigs, and ducks raised by villagers were taken, killed and eaten by Burma Army and BGF soldiers now based in the village.

Intense fighting, between Burma Army and BGF council troops and Karen National Liberation Army combined forces, at the end of April in Lay Kay, Bilin Township, Thaton District, displaced more than 10,000 villagers.

Recent heavy monsoon rains have made it difficult for villagers to now shelter in jungle areas – some displaced people are now trying to find refuge at other villages.

An aid worker told Karen News, “Because it rained a lot, it is not possible to live in the jungle or caves anymore. So, some people have moved back to villages. There is a food problem. There is also the problem of getting fuel for motorcycles and cars. There is a shortage of fuel in the shops.”

BGF and Burma Army troops sent to Lay Kay and Wintapin camps as reinforcements, took 92 civilians, including minors, hostage and used them as they travelled as human shields and porters. Among the hostages were 70 civilians from Hpa-an Township and 22 from Bilin Township, they yet to be released.

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