Wednesday, October 10, 2012

KIA: The Highway Robbers and Rapist Cowards?

(This post is direct translations of articles from the KachinDaily News site.)

Traffic stood still at a KIA road-block arbitrarily set up
to rob the travelling public, vehicles, and motorbikes.
Desperate KIA units are now forcefully collecting hefty Protection Fees (Set-kyay in Burmese) from the local people at many places in Kachin State as the year-long war against Burma army and the disruption of commerce in the war-torn areas has been costing them dearly and rapidly depleting their financial resources.

Instead of confronting better-armed and more numerous Burma army, various KIA units have been cowardly and violently raiding the villages whether they are Shans or Burmese villages for money and food and fresh recruits and young women to rape, and thus scaring the local people from travelling even on the wide Irrawaddy River.

Cash Collection on the Irrawaddy River

KIA officer Bo Lawan from KIA Fifth Battalion Second Brigade and about ten of his armed-men were last seen violently collecting money from the travelling boats on Irrawaddy at one of its narrows called Pashaw Narrow between Myitkyinar and Bamaw towns.

From September 25 to October 3 Lawan and his men had taken positions on both riverbanks at the Pashaw narrow and threatened the passing boat traffic and collected 4,000 kyats from each boat.

A narrow of Irrawaddy in Kachin State.
The narrow there is only 250 to 300 yards wide and once a boat is in their machine gun sights the crew has no choice but to pull over at the nearest bank and pay the KIA men whatever amount of money they ask for. Nobody wants to die for lousy 4000 kyats (about 5 bucks US).

A crew member of a regular motorised-boat bitterly said, “Once they saw the boat the motherfuckers levelled their 4 or 5 guns at us and the river there is so bloody narrow we couldn’t speed off without getting shot at. Four thousand kyats for every boat we had to pay every day. They took in at least 100,000 kyats every day. Both coming down from Myitkyinar and coming up from Bamaw there must be at least 30 boats a day going through that narrow. They’d never done it before. Since we have to pay at the gates and now also on the way on the river, it’s so hard for the business.”

The KIA mob disturbing the unarmed travelling civilians had fled from that very profitable spot only when a mobile column of Burma army reached the area in the early morning of October 4 as the KIA cowards didn’t dare to fight an army unit.

Flash Robberies on the Roads

KIA men forcing motorists to part with their cash.
On September 21 a ten men KIA unit led by KIA sergeant Gunjar set up a temporary road block on Myitkyinar-Tanaing Road near Old-Lakhar Village and started forcing travelling public to pay 3,000 kyats for a vehicle and 500 kyats for a motorcycle.

They shot a Shan motorcyclist dead when he refused to pay them and tried to speed off. They left the area on September 26 only when a mobile army column approached them to engage.

On October 7 another KIA unit led by another KIA sergeant also had set up a road block on the Myitkyinar-Bamaw Road at about two miles north of U-htan-yan Village of Myithit Village Tract in Moumauk Township. They then forced the travelling vehicles and motorcycles to pay 3,000 kyats each vehicle or 1,000 kyats for each motorcycle.

Forced Collections from the Loggers and Gold-miners

An illegal gold-miner squeezed for cash by KIA men.
In the late afternoon of September 23 about 70 men strong KIA unit led by a KIA captain rushed through the wide area along the Irrawaddy River in Khaw-myay region of Sinbo Township.

That unit was heavily-armed with heavy weapons and coming direct from the KIA HQ at Laiza and their purpose was to collect so-called Protection Fees for the KIA big shots back at the HQ on the Chinese border.

The rates they asked from the various loggers and gold-miners were 400,000 kyats for a shop, 400,000 kyats for a small gold mine, 60,000 kyats for a timber-mill, and 20,000 kyats per person.

According to a truck driver who was forced to part with his 20,000 kyats cash the area has roughly 20 gold mines and 15 timber mills and the KIA men got almost 20 million kyats from them. It was just a daylight robbery as the KIA men had threatened to kill anyone  refusing to pay.

KIA gang-rapes of Burmese and Shan girls and Women

A roaming KIA unit of robbers, rapists, and murderers.
On October 3 a seven men KIA unit led by KIA sergeant Bunchan gang-raped a 14 year old Burmese girl and a 30 year old Burmese woman a mother of two young children at the U Chit Swe’s Ruber Farm in the Tatkone Ward of Myitkyinar.

The KIA men were there to grab the Kachin and Shan male workers as recruits for KIA. But the men had fled and only one young Burmese girl and one Burmese woman working as the caretakers for the ruber farm were found by the drunk KIA men. They then violently gang-raped both Burmese females and almost killed the two in the process.

A mobile army column had chased them away and also captured a criminal KIA private named Khauzone aged 19 and the son of U Kikhaw after engaging them. He painfully confessed to the police after a session of severe beatings that they were there to grab new recruits and found only two Burmese and gang-raped them.

He also admitted that they were all seriously drunk when they committed the heinous crimes of gang-raping the young Burmese girl and the mother with two babies.

In last May a KIA unit had grabbed from the Pinlone Shan Village in Moenhyin Township 15 boys and 7 girls as new recruits for KIA. But on their way back to the camp the drunken KIA men gang-raped and killed two most pretty ones out of 7 young Shan girls they have   kidnapped from the Shan village.

A KIA women squad.
On October 9 a group of KIA men led by Major Khaung Lun of KIA Brigade 5 raided the Thea-Waing area on the east bank of May Kha river near Myitsone and captured 21 farmers and gold-panners including 5 young women.

The captured men and women were then taken against their will to the Brigade 5 base camp to be trained as forced recruits as the KIA HQ has been forcing the Brigades to recruit at least 250 recruits a month for each Brigade.

But most young Shan women especially the pretty ones end up as mistresses of high-ranking KIA officers if they are lucky. Unlucky ones usually end up getting gang-raped and killed by the brute KIA men in the jungle of Kachin land.