Army forcibly relocates village in Tennasserim Division; boy beaten, girl raped

January 6, 2009

HURFOM: Burmese Army troops in northern Tenesserim Division forced all residents of Amae village to abandon their homes and plantations in November. On the same day, the troops also raped a seventeen-year-old girl and severely beat a young boy.

Captain Pan Zar and 80 troops from Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 107 entered the village on November 11th. After accusing the residents of supporting an armed Mon rebel group in the area, the troops ordered the villagers to relocate. Each household was also ordered to pay the soldiers 50,000 kyat, and the residents are prohibited from visiting farms and plantations in the area.

The villagers were given virtually no time to prepare for their departure. Local sources said they left the next day, bringing only what they could carry and leaving behind the majority of their belongings, as well the timber and other valuable construction materials in their homes.

The soldiers assaulted at least one villager as they ordered the villagers to relocate. “One young man from the village asked the captain, ‘if you do like this, where will we go to live?’ said an eyewitness from Amae. “The captain replied, ‘you can go and live anywhere, but not in this area. After that he grabbed the young man and hit him in the head with the butt of his rifle. Once the young man had fallen down, the captain hit the young man’s leg and it broke.”

According to another source, soldiers also raped a seventeen-year-old girl as she worked on a betel-nut plantation nearby. The resident, who spoke with the victim’s mother and then quoted her to HURFOM, said that she was crying the whole time she told the story. “My daughter is only seventeen-years-old. She was raped by seven soldiers,” the source quoted the mother. “Those soldiers are not human. They are like animals. They are the same evil, both the captain and his solders. My daughter nearly died, and now she has tried to kill herself many times.”

The 60 households now find themselves in extra-ordinarily difficult circumstances. “Now we are in a very bad situation because we could not take much food or household things. And we have not much money. We also have to find land to live on and all new materials for building a home. It is so expensive we cannot afford it,” said a former resident. “Now I am staying at my friend’s house, but I cannot stay there for a long time. I have to find a way to solve the problem – I want to migrate to Thailand to find job, but I have no money even for transportation. My wife, my two sons and I have no idea where we will go.”

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