Villagers forced to serve as human shields and porters by Burmese soldiers

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Wednesday, 08 June 2011 21:35 Kun Chan

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – One day after two people were killed by masked gunmen in Three Pagoda Pass in Mon State on the Thai-Burmese border, Burmese government troops have reportedly forced villagers to serve as human shields and porters, according to local residents.

On June 6, government troops of Infantry Unit No. 373 arrested 10 villagers from Myaingtharyar village located 16 miles (25.75 km) northwest of Three Pagoda Pass, and 24 villagers from Apalone village, forcing some villagers including women to serve as human shields and others to work as porters, according to villagers.

‘Some women were put in front of the government troops in order to avoid attack by the KNU (Karen National Union). They used women as human shields’, said a member of the Apalone village administrative committee.

An officer in the New Mon State Party who is based in the area said that he had heard reports that some villagers were arrested to serve as porters, but he could not confirm the reports. Mizzima contacted the relevant authorities in the area, but they declined to comment.

According to an unconfirmed source close to the KNU, its troops carried out an ambush on a column of government troops, killing an army captain and six soldiers. The source said a female villager, Naw Moe Moe Aye, 32, was forced to serve as a porter, and she sustained an injury to her left arm.

On June 5, an attack by masked gunmen on two separate locations in Three Pagoda Pass killed one Burmese soldier and a 13-year-old girl, and injured three people.