Soldiers Killed Domestic Animals, Forced Locals to Serve as Porters in Paletwa
11 March 2011: Burmese soldiers patrolling southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township are on a rampage of killing domestic animals and forcibly recruiting porters to carry military supplies.
A section of Burma Army patrol unit led by commanding officer with the rank of Sergeant Major forcibly took three chickens in Bawngwui village and one goat in Tuikinwa village to feed the troop while patrolling the area last month, according to a local whose name is kept anonymous.
The same patrol unit also forced three local villagers from Tuikinwa village to carry their weapons and rations.
Rev. Shwekey Hoipang, who has been to the area several times and had lived in Paletwa for five years in the 1990s as a Christian preacher, said: “The military and local authorities in Paletwa township always intimidate villagers and then take whatever they want from the villagers such as food, domestic animals and money. They also deliberately take porters on Sunday so that the villagers cannot attend their Christian worship services.”
“The military in this part of Chin State are like licensed criminal gangs,” he added.
Soldiers stationed in Chin State are under instruction from Naypyidaw to be self-sufficient, according to the local right group Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO).
Paletwa Township, which borders Arakan State in the south and India’s Mizoram State on the north, is the most heavily militarized area in Chin State. At least 20 of more than 50 army camps in Chin State are stationed in Paletwa Township.
The two villages, Tuikinwa with around 80 households and Bawngwui with over 20, are about 12 miles away from Paletwa town, the biggest in the township.
Civilians – including women and children – are frequently forced to porter for the State army, conduct sentry duty, and to construct and repair army camps in Chin State, according to a report submitted by CHRO to the tenth session of the UPR Working Groups of the Human Rights Council in January 2011.
CHRO said hundreds of civilians in the Paletwa and Matupi township areas of southern Chin State have since 2006 been forcibly conscripted and or made to participate in militia training conducted by LIB 538 and 550 based in Arakan State, and LIB 140 based in the Matupi area.
More than 12 Burmese military battalions are now permanently stationed in Chin State, according to CHRO.
Van Biak Thang