Villagers cowed in fear after arbitrary killing by Burmese army

THURSDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2010 16:04

After the shooting of a villager in Yebyu Township, area residents will not leave their village at night for fear of reprisals from the Burmese army battalion responsible for the shooting death.

The death of Alaesakhan resident Nai Tun Lein, who was killed by soldiers from the Burmese army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 282 after objecting to the tax he was forced to pay, has drive Alaesakhan villagers to strictly followed a nighttime curfew set by LIB No. 282 .

According to several residents, if a villager is away for one or two nights, soldiers from LIB No. 282 which is based in Ka-lein-aung sub-township and station soldiers in Alaesakhan, will come to the persons home to find them.

While soldiers only check for a villager if they notice they are missing, none of the villages residents have yet taken that risk.

“If one man from the village went to another place or went on a trip for a long time, LIB No. 282 would come and check,” a resident of Alaesakhan village said. “So everyone including the village headman, is afraid to go outside of village.”

The LIB No 282 has also been checking residents who go outside of the village during the day on suspicion that they have some connection with the armed groups who active in the area.

The area around Alaesakhan is designated a ‘black area’ by Burmese army forces due to its yet unsecured. Several Mon splinter groups including the MNDA, Rehmonya, Nai Chen Deng, Nai Bin have been active in the area. According to Alaesakhan’s villager near Alaesakhan, the reason that Nai Tun Lein was killed by LIB No. 282 soldiers was not only due to his protest of their frequent taxation, but because they accused him of being connected with one of the Mon splinter groups operating in the area.

As part of the restriction, villagers were also banned from traveling in to the jungle where most work on farms and plantations for sustenance and living. As a result many villagers have experienced problems making a living or providing food for their families, according to another villager who lives in Alaesakhan village.

Villagers who violate the orders given by LIB No. 282 by spending the night outside the village, or are seen leaving, will be fined between 10,000 and 15,000 kyat. They’ve already announced it three times, “You are not allowed to go to the forest” an Alaesakhan resident told IMNA.

He added, “We have had to stop cutting down trees right now and also working on our farms for the market. We have seen many problems because we have had no chance to go to the farm to [work and] sleeping there. All of us are afraid them.”

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