37 villagers detained by IB 31 in Khawza Sub-Township

November 19, 2009

HURFOM, YE: Around 37 villagers from Yinyae village, located in Khawza Sub-Township in Southern Ye Township, have been detained by Infantry Battalion (IB) No 31; the battalion is based Khawza Sub-Town. The villagers in question have been held in the IB 31 camp since November 10th of this year.  

The Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA) reported on October 28th of this year about the October 25th detainment of the Yinyae villagers by the Nai Bin armed group. According to IMNA’s report, over 30 villagers from Yinyae were seized on the night of the 25th, and forced to collectively contribute three millions kyat for ransom. The following day, on the 26th of October, IB 31 entered the village and rebuked the newly-released hostages for paying off their captors.

According to a village resident, on the morning of November 10th around 25 soldiers from IB No. 31, lead by Captain Wai Linn Myo, again arrived in Yinyae village. The troops arrested 37 villagers, including the village headman and the individuals who’d been held hostage by the Nai Bin group, and marched their detainees to a football field near the village entrance. This source reports that the IB 31 soldiers beat, shouted at, and harassed the detained villagers under the hot sun until 1 pm, when the soldiers moved the arrested villagers to the IB No.31 camp.

According to Nai Nyan, a Yinyae resident, the detained villagers have yet to be released from the camp.

“We villagers who live in the southern part of Ye Township have to listen to both sets of orders, if we deny one [group] we surely will have problems. We don’t know what we should do. Neither group can protect our lives, we only take care of ourselves,” Nai Nyan added.

Villagers in the region are often caught in the crossfire between the Burmese Army and various rebel groups, and attempts to pacify both forces frequently backfire. HURFOM’s November 9th article covered the deaths of four village leaders in Yebyu Township, who were killed in a  “power struggle” between the Nai Chan Dein rebel group and the LIB 107.

Yinyae villagers told HURFOM’s reporter that residents are willing to pay IB 31 the same sum of money given to the Nai Bin group, in exchange for an end to the battalion’s harassment.

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