Fresh DKBA recruits sent to frontline by KIC

TUESDAY, 21 JULY 2009 16:11

The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) will despatch its new recruits to the frontline after they conclude their basic military training, said two trainees, who escaped on July 20.

Saw Kyaw Elt (17) and Saw Ye Yaung, (19) escaped, when they were undergoing basic military training in DKBA’s Shwe Kuokko training camp. The duo was forcibly recruited by DKBA. After receiving training for a month, they escaped from the training camp to their relatives who live in Thailand.

“Our trainers were Saw Hsaw Ka El and Saw Kyaw Doe. They said that all of us would be sent to the frontline after concluding the basic military training course. Many young people of our age are being trained. Besides, some people are fathers of two or three children. In the Shwe Kuokko military training camp, about 300 new recruits are undergoing military training,” said Saw Kyaw El.

“Those under 50 and fathers of two or three children can be recruited in keeping with the Strategic Commander Col. Saw Chit Thu’s recruitment order,” said a Captain of a battalion of the DKBA’s Brigade 999. The two trainees, who fled, are from Htee Charra village, Nabu Township. They were rounded up when they were growing rice in their paddy fields by Maj. Saw Kadon, a Commander of the Thitsati battalion of the DKBA’s Brigade 999. They were beaten up at the training camp and were not given adequate food. They were trained on off days, Saw Ye Yaung said.

“We were only two in the group who were growing rice. Most are girls. They forcibly dragged us away. When we refused to go with them, they kicked and abused us. We were told that we were being recruited for the expansion of the DKBA,” said Saw Ye Yaung.

“We have to have rice with salt every day. We did not get enough rice. Every Saturday, we had to weed out grass from teak-wood fields and had to work the whole day. Anybody caught taking rest would be kicked and beaten up. We are very upset because we are also Karen. I don’t want to be a soldier and want to live like a normal civilian. Now we plan to work in Thailand,” he added.

In an official announcement the DKBA has said if people are not inclined to join they could pay 30,000 Baht per person. Those who cannot afford to pay 30,000 Baht are forcibly recruited.

DKBA Brigade 999 has started fresh recruitments in Kelgaw, Kweelay, Kyaraw Hko, Lobaw, Hparkyu, Htee Wabalaug, Htee Wakalay, Poutbaw Hko, Nawkalay Hkee and Htee Lawthay village in Myawaddy district, Karen State.

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