Khaw Zar Residents Cannot Afford Extortion Demands; Live in Fear of Local Mon Splinter Group

May 23, 2014

Residents of Khaw Zar Sub-township, Ye Township, Mon State continue to be concerned for their safety as they cannot afford extortion payments demanded by a local Mon splinter group. The community lives in fear because the Mon splinter group has been known to kidnap villagers who fail to pay them. The Mon community of southern Burma lives in constant in fear of kidnapping, physical assault, and demands of extortion by either Burmese military troops or Mon splinter groups.

On March 27, 2014, a Mon splinter group believed to be led by Nai Lwin delivered a letter to Khaw Zar City’s monastery supporters, who work in, and support, the city’s two monasteries in Ye Township, demanding the collection of money from villagers. The groups ordered each monastery to collect 20 million kyat from the villagers.

Khaw Zar villagers have not paid yet because the demand is too high. However, villagers must always bring money and gold with them when traveling outside the village to their plantations. Villagers must pay the Mon splinter group with these valuables to escape any danger they risk if they run into the group.

The splinter group has placed demands of extortion upon other small villages throughout the area, including Tayoke Htaung, Shew Hin Tar, Ka Pyar Kyi, Kyone Ka Nyar, and Kyauk Ai villages in Khaw Zar sub-township.

According to local sources, all of the above-mentioned villages, except Khaw Zar village, have paid the demanded sums. Fear has spread after hearing that the Mon splinter group tried to kidnap one of the Tayoke Htaung administrator’s children. The group entered Tayoke Htaung village early this month; they invaded the administrator’s house while he was not at home, and attempted to kidnap his son. However, the administrator’s wife, who had just given birth to a new baby, was at home and persuaded them to take 200,000 kyat instead of the child.

We are still in fear, but not as much as before. Some people go and sleep at their plantation. When hearing the situation is not good, the villagers avoid sleeping at their plantations. No one has paid [the Mon splinter group]. Everybody is aware of the situation and [its effects on] their safety”, says a woman from Khaw Zar.

After being notified of the incident, Burmese military troops sometimes patrol the area of Khaw Zar. When the situation has cooled down a bit, the soldiers stop patrolling but the villagers still live in fear. Some people have tried to go to their plantations with courage, while others are still afraid travel outside of the village.

In September of last year, the same Mon splinter group approached villagers and demanded large sums of money from Sein Pon, Yay Ngan Gyi, Kyauk Kadin, and Pha Yar Tone Zuu villages in Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Region. According to local reports, over the past ten years, the Mon splinter group has demanded money from Alesaka Kyauk Ta Lin, Sein Pon, Yay Ngan Gyi, Min Tar, Pha Yar Tone Zuu, Kyauk Kadin, and other villages located in Yebyu Township.


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