Burma Army Forced Villagers to Porter in Chin State
08 April 2011: Burma Army Light Infrantry Battalion (LIB) No. 140 patrolling in Matupi Township of Chin State forcibly ordered 16 locals including a 16-year-old boy from Khuangan village to carry their military equipment on 25 March 2011.
The locals were forced to travel on foot from Khuangan to Tingsi village, carrying heavy loads on their backs while the Battalion Major rode on a motorbike hired by the village authorities, according to one of the local porters.
“Our village headman made an announcement saying that any family with no government employees had to make a contribution. Some who heard the arrival of Burmese soldiers ran away and hid somewhere,” said the local porter from Khuangan village.
“But others didn’t run away because they knew that the village headman and leaders could be beaten up or fined if there were not enough people from the village to carry their stuff,” added the porter.
It was known that the 16-year-old boy was eventually included in the list in order to make the numbers of porters demanded by the soldiers.
“We were told that we might have to keep on travelling as they couldn’t get enough people in Tingsi village for portering,” said the local porter.
Van Biak Thang