SPDC ambushes Mon group, girl and soldier killed

February 10, 2010
Yebyu — Fighting broke between the Burmese government’s militia force and a Mon splinter group near the Yadana gas pipeline which resulted in the death of two people.

The two groups exchanged a short round of gunfire in the second week of January near a Mon village in Tenasserim Division which killed a young girl aged 6 and a SPDC soldier, said a Mon village administrator to Kaowao who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal.

The SPDC Light Infantry Battalion No. 282, a special battalion that guards the Yadana Gas Pipeline, and its militia force, surrounded and ambushed the Mon splinter group led by Major Jalon Taw who broke away from the NMSP last year.

The area of the fighting occurred in the east of Moulmein-Tavoy motor road near Kaloin Ong (Kalein Aung in Burmese) of Yebyu Township. There are over five Mon villages situated along the Yadana pipeline that runs along a portion of the road. The villagers are often caught in the crossfire between the government forces who force the villagers to guard the pipeline and the Mon resistance groups who demand their support.

The militia force members which are composed of ordinary villagers were recruited by the SPDC local battalion in 2001 and face an uphill battle in following the orders of both the SPDC and the ethnic armed groups who make numerous demands on them.

The village recruits are told to fight their own people who make up the splinter group; one of the recruited villagers, Yabu (Daik Tao in Mon), said they face continual harassment in the column alongside the SPDC soldiers and often fear of running into their own people while out patrolling the area.

Most of the village militia force speak only Mon and have problems communicating in Burmese to the SPDC’s soldiers. Meanwhile, the strapped for cash SPDC extorts money from the villagers leaving them with little even to feed themselves. Many villagers will decide instead to flee to one of the Mon Internally Displaced Camps situated along the Thai- Burma border, while others will move to a more urban area where no fighting occurs.

Villager killed after challenging Burmese Militia

February 11, 2010
Yebyu — Villagers after raising questions on paying illegal taxes at high rates to the militia force in Tenasserim Division have allegedly been tortured with one being killed by the Burmese Army, the families of the victims said.

The three villagers, who hail from Ale Sakhan village in Yebyu Township of Tenasserim Division, had decided to risk repercussions and come forward with their complaints in having to pay six thousand Kyat to the Burmese militia force (Pyi-Thu-Sit). They were immediately arrested by the Light Infantry Battalion No. 282 on February 4. Among the three, Mr. Nai Tun Lein, was killed shortly after he was brought in to the local military detention camp, while Mr. Nai Nyunt and Mr. Nai Ba Mon are reportedly still being held in the detention centre.

A local driver who witnessed the event said,”the three men had wanted to voice their complaints to the village administrators who were demanding that each household pay high taxes to the militia affairs.”

For many years, the local people had been living in a lot of fear and uncertainty with many poor people bearing the brunt in having to support the local Burmese militia units.

The joint force of Burmese battalion and the local militia has launched the military operation against the Mon National Defense Organization led by Major Jalon Taw who splint from the New Mon State Party (NMSP) last year. Taw later confirmed the villagers’ arrest, via the Thai satellite phone, to a Kaowao reporter from the area.

Southern Ye of Mon State and Yebyu of Tenasserim Division area is designated by the Burma Army as a black zone and villagers have been restricted in visiting their farms since the army started the offensive aimed at wiping out the Mon guerrilla group.

Understanding Burma’s ‘Union Day’

On Friday, Burma will celebrate the 63rd anniversary of Union Day. It was on this day in 1947 when 23 representatives from the Shan states, the Kachin hills, the Chin hills and Aung San, the head of the interim Burmese government, signed an agreement in Panglong in Shan State to form the Union of Burma.

The State Law and Order Restoration Council, the former name of military junta, changed the country’s name from Union of Burma to Union of Myanmar in 1989. However, the Burmese opposition and many Western nations still continue to use Burma while many Eastern nations and the United Nations use Myanmar.

The Panglong agreement was a turning point in the modern history of Burma. Gen Aung San, the father of Aung San Suu Kyi, played a pivotal role in bringing together leaders of the country’s “Frontier Areas” (ethnic nationalities) to the negotiating table. Aung San, 32, was assassinated on July 19, 1947. Continue reading “Understanding Burma’s ‘Union Day’”

Berman Urges Burmese Junta to Release Imprisoned American

Calls on U.S. Administration to Appoint Envoy and Consider More Sanctions

Van Nuys, CA – In response to the sentencing of U.S. citizen Nyi Nyi Aung to three years in prison with hard labor in his native Burma, Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-CA) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee today urged the Burmese military junta to release the prisoner immediately and called on the U.S. departments of State and Treasury to consider tightening sanctions on the Burmese regime, in keeping with Obama Administration policy, to encourage progress in human rights.

Berman also called on the Administration to appoint a Special Representative and Policy Coordinator to Burma, as required by law under the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act, in order to promote a comprehensive international effort to restore civilian democratic rule, address the urgent humanitarian needs of Burma’s people and work for the release of all political prisoners there.

“The sentencing of Nyi Nyi Aung is a serious impediment to improved relations with the United States at a time when our country has embarked on a new approach toward Burma,” Berman said. “Months after this new approach was announced, it is disappointing that the junta has failed to respond to formal diplomatic complaints regarding his reported severe mistreatment, including allegations of torture and repeated, lengthy denials of access to consular services through the U.S. embassy.” Continue reading “Berman Urges Burmese Junta to Release Imprisoned American”

UN rights envoy en route to Burma

Feb 11, 2010 (AFP)–UN human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana will begin a five-day visit to Burma next week, a UN official said Thursday, as the military junta prepares to hold national polls this year.

“He will be there 15 to 19 February. It’s his regular programme, he’s supposed to visit the country two times a year,” said human rights officer Hannah Wu.
A Burmese official confirmed the visit and said Quintana would visit Sittwe in western Arakan state, close to the country’s border with Bangladesh.
This will be the envoy’s third visit to the country after a previous mission last year was postponed, and comes a day after the regime jailed an American human rights activist despite demands from the United States for his release.
On Wednesday a court in the military-ruled nation sentenced Kyaw Zaw Lwin, to three years in prison on fraud and forgery charges. United Nations special rapporteur Quintana expects to meet with Burmese foreign minister Nyan Win but not with junta head, senior general Than Shwe during this visit, said Wu.
She said he will report back from his visit to the Human Rights council and then to the General Assembly.
Following Kyaw Zaw Lwin’s sentencing Wednesday, one lawmaker called for consideration of tougher sanctions against the Southeast Asian regime.
It came as the US engages in a cautious dialogue on improving relations and as the military government plans to hold polls in late 2010.
Democracy advocates and Western governments fear that the elections will lack credibility as opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest and the courts continue to lock up dissidents opposing the regime.

Burma, China to develop hydropower projects in Wa and Mongla areas

THURSDAY, 11 FEBRUARY 2010 14:25 S.H.A.N.
According to a report that came out on 8 February from http://news.sohu.com Burma in cooperation with two Chinese firms is planning to develop 7 dams in the Wa and Mongla areas, both of which have been up in arms against Naypyitaw’s plan to transform all the armed groups that have ceasefire agreements into Burma Army run militia forces.

According to the translated report, the Yunnan Power Grid Corporation and the State Development and Investment Corporation (SDIC) Huajing Power Holdings had completed the plan in 2008 and submitted to the Burma’s Ministry of Electric Power-1 in the same year. “In May and December of 2009, the Ministry confirmed the river planning report. Up to now, the project pre- feasibility study has been completed, and the investigation work outside the Nam Hka River hydropower stations will be launched,” reads the report.

The formation stage developments of hydropower projects will be in:
Nam Hka (also written Nam Kha) River, a tributary of the Nu-Salween River, that flows through the Wa capital Panghsang- 1 dam project
Nam Lwi (also written Nam Lwe) River, a tributary of the Mekong, that roughly serves as the boundary of areas under the control of the Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA)- 6 dam cascade projects
Wang Wen, Deputy General Manager of YPGC and Hu Gang, Director of the SDIC Huajiang Power Holdings, had already signed an agreement on 4 February for the implementation of the projects, according to the report. Continue reading “Burma, China to develop hydropower projects in Wa and Mongla areas”