Couple decapitated in fishing-boat accident in Karen State

Fri 16 Oct 2009, IMNA
According to IMNA’s field reporter, a young Mon couple from Winyaw Seikgyi village in Kyainnseikyi Township, Karen State, was killed last Tuesday October 6thu. The couple was reportedly fishing on the Winyaw River when their fishing boat was run over by a larger ferryboat. The fishing boat was crushed by the ferryboat’s motor, and the couple was decapitated.

“Both of them are from Winyaw Seikgyi village. Both of their heads were cut by the fan from the boat after their boat went under the machine boat,” a fellow Winyaw Seikgyi fisherman and friend of the victims’ family informed IMNA.

IMNA’s field reporter learned that the accident happened near sunset on the 6th, and that the Burmese-Karen ferryboat owner was unable to see the much smaller fishing boat in the growing dark.

“The couple’s relatives complained to the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) [who control] the area. The DKBA ordered the ferryboat owner to pay 1 million kyat for each person [to the victims’ relatives]. They [the DKBA] didn’t take any action against the ferryboat owner. The case was finished by him giving 1 million kyat each,” stated the friend of the family that IMNA interviewed. The ferryboat owner is also from Winyaw Seikgyi village, and reportedly was acquainted with the couple. According to IMNA’s field reporter, he makes his living by carrying the passengers from his village to Chaungnakwa village, Kyaikmayaw Township Mon State further up the Win-yaw River. Most of the residents of villages on the Win-yaw River make their livings from the water, especially through fishing.

IMNA’s source reported that despite their unhappiness with the small compensation they received for their loss, the victims’ relatives feel powerless to pursue their case against the ferryboat owner, due to their lowly statuses as fishermen and their lack of power under the DKBA.

“Even though the victims’ family is dissatisfied with the compensation for the loss of their two family members, they feel that they have to accept that decision, because they do not dare to urge for more [from the DKBA]”.

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