Paletwa Villagers Forced to Serve as Burma Army Porters

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Locals and internally displaced people (IDPs) from other areas who have sought refuge in Meezar village in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township, say that they have been forced to carry food and supplies for Burma Army troops.

The Burma Army called up a total of 35 people in Meezar on the morning of Wednesday, October 23 to work as porters, carrying food rations from the village of Twin Chaung Wa to Kha Maung Wa. The trek is one full day on foot and was scheduled for Thursday.

“The Burma Army gave the order to the village headman and the local authorities. They told us to call up villagers and IDPs to carry food rations for the army,” Meezar headman Huay Lor told Khonumthung News. “We could not reject it. We have no choice because they have weapons.”

Huay Lor said that the military promised to provide 4,000 kyat (US$2.60) to each porter, which would be provided by soldiers at the Hta Ron Ai military camp when the porters arrived in Kha Maung Wa village.

This incident was not the first time that Burma Army soldiers called up people from Meezar, including IDPs, to work as porters. On May 15, Infantry Battalion 77, based in Kha Maung Wa, asked 31 people to do the same labor.

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