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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Burma Army gang raped Karenni woman

Written by Kantarawaddy Times

A mother and her six-year-old daughter were on their way to sell snacks on the Shan-Karenni border when Burma Army soldiers arrested them. The soldiers blindfolded both mother and her daughter. Maw Soe Meh, 40, the mother, (for security concerns her name has been changed) was gang-raped by five Burma Army soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 575 based in Tay Yu Taung.
The gang rape took place on the evening of December 7, 2011, somewhere between Daw Weh Raw village (Maw Soe Meh’s home place) located in Shadaw Township and the Shan-Karenni border.
A reliable source close to Maw Soe Meh said.
“The soldiers threatened her not to go back to the village. She was frightened, but she came back to the village at around 8 pm on that day. Maw Soe meh said she was going to report the rape to the strategic military commander based at Shadaw Township.”
The source said that Maw Soe Meh was outraged and angry at regular mistreatment ethnic people are forced to endure such as forced labor and destruction of property by the Burma Army.
“Maw Soe Meh said she also wants to mention in her complaint about the daily inhuman and degrading treatment ethnic people face. She said Burma Army soldiers do no good for the people. They eat all our rice, they should be withdrawn from our land.”
Two  Burmese government soldiers sitting at a military camp base on eastern Salween river (photo: citizen journalist)
Two Burmese government soldiers sitting at a military camp base on eastern Salween river (photo: citizen journalist)
Khu Daniel, a spokeperson for the Karenni Backpack Medical Team said a medical team met with Maw Soe Meh to assess her condition.

“She is now being counseled by our medical staff and receiving treatment.”

Villagers say Light Infantry Battalion 575 - under the Military Operational Command-17 - is renown for using women as porters in the Shadaw Township area. The villagers say they have video footage that clearly documents and proves their allegations.

According to a spokesperson from the United Karenni State Youth-UKSY Maw Soe Meh’s rape is not the first by soldiers in recent months. The spokesperson said that on November 25, 2011, Burma Army soldiers from LIB 428 and LIB 531 raped three women from Lawjar village in Prusoe Township.
Sun Shine, the General Secretary of UKSY, said the women were threatened and intimidated to not report the rape to anyone.
“The perpetrators threatened the women and villagers that if the information leaked out, they will take action against them.”
At the time of writing The Kantarawaddy Times is trying to gather more information on other rape cases in Karenni State.
The reported rape cases in Karenni State happened  during the time of the ceasefire talks between the Karenni National Progressive Party and the Burma government. Maw Soe Meh's rape happen one week after the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, much lauded visit to Burma.
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