Burmese Soldiers commandeer villagers’ motorbikes in Mon State

September 12, 2007

Han-Gan, Ye Township

It was reported on 12 September, 2007, that since 27 August, soldiers from the Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 299, have been commandeering villagers’ motorbikes in Han-Gan village. Sergeant Aung Myint and his followers have been taking 3 motorbikes from the villagers everyday.

Han-Gan village is located in Ye Township, Mon State and LIB No. 299 is based in Koe-Mile. They also asked the village head to pay for gasoline. Because of this, the village head has had to collect money from villagers. They’ve been asking for 3 gallons of gasoline each day because they want 1 gallon per motorbike. The soldiers also threatened to simply take bikes if no one would offer up their own.

According to Nai Myint from Han-Gan village, they stopped commandeering motorbikes last April, and briefly did it in July. They’ve since begun commandeering again. “Sergeant Aung Myint and his followers said that they would take my motorbike for a day but they kept it for 5 days. When they gave it back to me, it was almost destroyed because they crashed into something and generally used it carelessly. I had to repair it myself. This is the third or fourth time they’ve done something like this,” said Nai Myint.

“They have been using my motorbike for several days and are keeping it in an outpost beside the railway in Han-Gan. Whenever I ask them to give it back, they just say that their work is not finished,” Nai Myint added.

Villagers in Yin-Yae village are facing the same problem. A few months ago, a Yin-Yae villager’s motorbike was lost after the soldiers commandeered it. The bike was being used by many soldiers and when they were asked about its disappearance, they pointed to each other and brushed the question off. The villager never did get his motorbike back. Villagers have since been worried about their motorbikes meeting a similar fate.

These villagers rely on their motorbikes. Without them, they cannot get to their jobs on the plantations, which is particularly damaging considering that on top of struggling to pay for gasoline, they now have to pay for repairs to motorbikes broken by the soldiers.

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