Insecurity continues to rise in Ye and Yebyu Townships
June 28, 2012
HURFOM reports that despite the transitions Burma is now pursuing, local residents in Southern Mon State and Northern Tenasserim still face instability including kidnapping, extortion, violations of rights, and torture. In response to the threat of violence and intimidation, villagers fear for their security, livelihoods, employment, and even their ability to travel outside their homes and communities. The presence of many different insurgent groups and security forces in the region, all seeking to exploit local people, compounds the risks.
On June 23, 2012, an unidentified Mon breakaway group came to Yay Ngan Gyi and Sinswe villages, beside the Ye-Tavoy motor road and railway in Kaleinaung sub-township in Yebyu Township. The breakaway group, numbering around six members, confiscated three telephones from the villagers’ households in Sinswe village, Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Region. Then, the group extorted five kyat of gold from a wife and husband and beat them. The same day, the perpetrators exacted similar demands in Yay Ngan Gyi village, taking two telephones and two kyat of gold from the villagers.
In total, more than ten villagers were beaten by the group, and three married couples between the ages of 40 to late 60s, Nai Bee and Mi Shee, Nai Sun and Mi Puu, and Nai Lan Baa and Mi Kong Soe subsequently had physical problems and were unable to eat.
Mi Myit (alias), 59, who has two sons and lives in Yay Ngan Gyi said, “I could not afford to pay to the arbitrary fees extorted by the Mon armed group because my sons could not send me money regularly from where they work in Thailand. I only could pay 30,000 Kyat to the chairman, who was being forced to collect one Kyat of gold or 500,000 Kyat from each house.”
The village chairman appealed to the group to take 12 kyat of gold in lieu of the one kyat per household they were demanding. The village has approximately 50 households.
In addition, Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 282, the local patrol troop in Min Tar village five miles from Yay Ngan Gyi village, demanded that villagers pay the same sum of money to them that they were forced to pay to the Mon group.
One villager reported, “We do not have any more money to give. Even now, we have to ask for help from our daughters and sons who work in Thailand. Some villagers are moving to other places.”
A resident of Min Tar village, 50-year-old Nai Thaung Naine, speculated that the 8-member armed group led by Nai Saung and Nai Lwin was involved in the recent arbitrary extortion because they were in the area at that time. They lead a 12-member armed Mon group that aims to promote Mon civil liberty and border sovereignty, and that has been operating in Southern Mon State and Northern Tenasserim since 2005. Fifteen people from Nai Bin’s Mon armed group, which surrendered to Southeast command at the end of February 2012, were previously robbing villages in Southern Mon State and Northern Tenasserim. However, according to a June 25 interview with Yay Ngan Gyi resident Nai Kyak, 45, it is difficult to say which group was extorting money and mistreating residents because there are many groups operating in that location.
Residents report many human rights abuses committed against them in southern Ye Township and northern Yebyu township in Tenasserim Region, including Burmese troops burning homes and demanding arbitrary fees, and similar activities by the various armed insurgent groups.