Exemplary of ongoing abuses that continue to be committed by the Burmese Military against civilians, Wednesday Lt.Col Aung Win Htun reportedly viciously beat 3 villagers with a bamboo pole for refusing to serve as military porters. Additional reports allege the Lt. Col to have harassed and beaten a fourth villager Thursday after having been refused alcohol. The beatings were carried out against Karen State villagers, a northern Burmese state known for fighting for independence from Burma to maintain the region’s ethnic and cultural heritage. The Karen people, largely comprised of ethnic minority Christians, has long been a target of abuse by the Burmese state. As the international and business communities continue to pour into Burma under the guise of reform, reports continue to expose ongoing human rights and religious freedom abuses committed by the state and the state’s military.
06/09/2013 Burma (Karen News) – Captain Gyi No, a Karen National Union (KNU) leader from the Tenasserim Division in southern Burma confirmed with Karen News that a Burma Army officer attacked three villagers without reason on June 5.
Eyewitnesses said that the three villagers were so badly beaten that they needed hospital treatment. The KNU’s Captain Gyi No claimed the attacked was unprovoked.
“The Battalion Commander, Lt.Col Aung Win Htun, from the Light Infantry Battalion 588 used a bamboo pole to beat up the three Karen villagers in Wa Daw village. The three villagers were seriously injured in the attack and had to be sent to Myitta village hospital for treatment.”
Captain Gyi No explained that the Wa Daw villagers were cutting wood with a chainsaw for a village building.
“The commander heard the sound and came out to the villagers and beat them up. Other villagers tried to protect the three men who were being beaten. The Commander pulled his gun and threatened to shoot the villagers.”
The Burma Army Battalion 588 is under the control of the number 2 Tactical Command of the 19 Operation Command headquarters based in Htee Hta village.
The KNU’s Captain Gyi No pointed out that the Burma Army, despite the ceasefire agreement between the KNU and the government, still abuses local people. Captain Gyi No said the Burma Army’s presence in the region is the problem as the Army are setting-up camps in close proximity to communities.
Captain Gyi No said the Burma Army is also restricting villagers right to travel or to query developments in the area.
“Since Lt.Col Aung Win Htun arrived in Wa Daw village, he has restricted all the villagers from hunting for wild chickens and other small animals. He has threatened villagers who have asked for compensation from the Italian-Thai Development Company [for] land and properties that have been destroyed by the construction of [the] Dawei-Kanchanaburi Highway.”