Burmese (Myanmar) Army and BGF troops steal over 75 Million Kyat from Palaing Japan Villagers 

December 10, 2019

HURFOM: The village leaders in Palaing Japan village (literal translation-Japanese Well) have calculated the losses of stolen belongings and damaged property, during the raid of Burmese Army and Border Guard Force (BGF) on the 27th of November.  They calculate villagers lost approximately 55 million Kyat, from looting by armed soldiers.  Added to this loss the soldiers also took a Toyota Tiger model (D4D) truck, with an estimated value of 20 million Kyat, from the village.

In the morning of 27th November, the Burmese Army troops from LIB No. 283 and two BGF battalions broke the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and entered the village, which is under the control of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and its armed forces (MNLA).  Fighting broke out and the Burmese Army along with the BGF members occupied the village.

One village leader said, “After the occupation, we heard the BGF force were searching every house, belonging to Mon soldiers, and took their belongings.” 

Individual households reported their losses to the village leaders. 11 households reported they lost a lot of belongings, varying from cooking pots to motor repair equipment,

Approximately 900 villagers from Palaing Japan, Guu Bowl, and Don Dot Poik villages have fled to temporary shelter in Thailand or have sought refuge in nearby plantations. Thai authorities including the Thai Red Cross have lent basic food assistance, health care services and clothes.

After the villagers had fled, BGF Karen soldiers searched some of their houses and their belongings were taken.

Village heads have confirmed the losses of repair equipment and supplies from a motorbike repair shop. Nai Soe Khaing, the owner says he lost over 300, 000 Baht (15,000,000 Kyat) just from property taken from his house.  He also showed lists of equipment and supplies from his house.   

It is also believed that soldiers took a Tiger model Toyota car belonging to a Nai Pyeal.

The village heads explained, “there are about 11 houses that were looted and the MNLA base’s motorbikes, ammunitions, TV, Skynet equipment were taken by Burmese soldiers.”

They value of lost goods is estimated to be 1.1 million Baht or 55 million Kyat.   A Toyota car is worth approximately, 20 million Kyat, bringing the total losses to 75 million Kyat.

The village heads will report these losses to the Liaison office of the New Mon State Party (NMSP), who in turn will discuss the matter with commanders of the Burmese Army in order to return the looted goods or reimburse for the losses in cash.

After more than a week of military tension, NMSP leaders and the Burmese Army military commanders negotiated a remedy.  The BGF troops withdrew from the border on 4th December.  The MNLA troops took over their bases.  However, the Burmese Army set up another base just 300 meters away from the MNLA base.

The displaced villagers remain afraid of returning to their homes fearing that fighting could break out any time. Thai authorities have closed the temporary camps in the monasteries, and many villagers remain in the plantations along the borderline, although some men have returned their homes.

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