Friday, November 21, 2008

Three insurgents and one villager killed by Burmese Army during clash in Ye Township

Ko Sein Myint and Arka
Mon News
20 Nov 2008

Three insurgents and one villager are reportedly dead after a clash between rebels and Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 299 near Man-aung village in southern Ye Township, Mon State.

According to a source close to LIB No. 299, based in Ko Mine village, soldiers said they recovered the bodies of three dead rebel soldiers and one villager after a fighting at noon on November 17th. Three guns and 8 million kyat are also reported to have been recovered. Man-aung is less than two kilometers to the east of Koe Mine village.

According to the source close to LIB No. 299, a local informer notified army troops of the rebels’ presence. The rebels, moving in a small group of five, were subsequently ambushed as they prepared their lunch near a stream outside Man-aung.

The deaths of the rebels could not be independently verified, but a female villager from Koe Mine village confirmed that one civilian, Nai a Saing, was killed. The civilian casualty was accompanying the rebels after he had been order to leave work on a rubber plantation and carry supplies for the soldiers.

The female villager from Koe Mine also said that villagers in the area are now afraid to go to remote farms and plantations because they fear both rebels and the Burmese army. The fears appear well placed, according to a human rights report released by the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) on November 20th.

HURFOM’s report details four main categories of human rights violations committed by battalions against residents of at least thirty villages in the area. The categories included are: interrogation, assault and summary execution; travel restrictions and surveillance; punitive taxation, quotas and looting; forced labor, including conscription of porters and human minesweepers for military operations.

Though the focus of the HURFOM report is human rights violations committed by the Burmese army, the group also describes the taxation – and even ransoming – of local villagers by another armed Mon insurgents. “Villagers often find themselves caught between the proverbial rock and hard place,” reads the report, “in which they are pressured, even forced, to support insurgent groups and then harshly punished by SPDC battalions for doing so.”

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