Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Living in Trauma, Danu Region

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“Nine villagers from Pae Yin Thaung village, all are Danu tribe, were tortured and killed by the military junta after accusing them as People Defense Force (PDF) members on 19 April 2022.”

Burma Army burning villager house at Ywar Ngarn
Burma Army burning villager house at Ywar Ngarn

The surrounding was so quiet except the occasional sound of cars and motorcycles when passing by. Due to the martial law and electricity black out, the village was silent and everyone was in bed.

On 20 March 2022 around 10 P.M, the sound of people screaming, crying, and gun fire suddenly broke the silence. Some houses, cars, and motorcycles were continuously burned that night. This incident occurred after the military informant U Soe Myint’s house was attacked.

The once peaceful village, Pae Yin Thaung, is now experiencing chaotic and unforeseen shocking incidents.

“The house was burned down into ash, and the soldiers in the village started firing guns – the gun fire lasted about half an hour. U Soe Myint was killed and some of his family members were injured,” a female resident told SHAN.

After the coup, Ywangan township, Southern Shan State, has shown signs of increased armed conflict during these few months. Pae Yin Thaung village is located between Aung Pan – Ywangan highway road, and it is only about 18 miles away from the Southern Shan State’s trading city, Aung Pan.

“Suddenly, I did not know what to do. So, I collected the important things, and our whole family had to run away overnight. There were soldiers in the village, and my grandmother is 80 years old. She was so shocked by the incident, so we decided to leave immediately,” a 40 years old, Daw Mee Nge (Not real name), who experienced the shocking event that night told SHAN.

According to a resident from Pindaya township, starting from the end of 2021, the People Defense Force (PDF) initiated their attacks in Ywangan township, and it has been more intense lately. 

“Ywangan and Pindaya are connected. It started in Ywagnan, and now Pindaya is also included – they fought the military junta, its informants, and destroyed military owned telecommunication towers in the areas. After that, the military junta started arresting people in the villages, and some residents ran away. If the situation calmed, they would come back,” the above Pindaya resident told SHAN.

During the water festival on 15 April 2022 morning, Myanmar military junta fired artillery targeting a Danu PDF base located south of Thaung Oo village, Ywangan township and killed two PDF force members. One PDF member injured his head severely, and another member got arrested alive.

According to the resident, Myanmar military junta offensively attacked another PDF base located west of Na Ban Kyi village, Ywangan township, and took over the base by using air strikes during the bad weather condition.

“Anyone could get arrested without doing anything. It was not just in Pae Yin Thaung village but most of the villages in Ywangan township were facing the same thing. So, the villagers were running away into the jungle. Pae Yin Thaung villagers were afraid that gun fights could escalate anytime, so they remained in the jungle,” a young native told SHAN.

There were other conflicts occurring in the Danu region where the Myanmar military junta kept shelling recklessly into the areas, and the natives were shocked.

“The locals have never experienced such an event, so they were scared. When they saw soldiers, they were so shocked that they were shivering, and it had been many sleepless nights. The young ones were furious and resentful. When they saw their friends were on the run while some were being killed, they would like to fight back. However, the elders were not supportive, so the young ones felt helpless sometimes,” a local political activist, Daw Mee Nge told SHAN.

Ywar Ngarn Danu
Ywar Ngarn Danu

She also added that the Danu elders have been brainwashing the Danu people by using the religion from generation to generation. Even though the Danu people have been oppressed, they did not revolt against the oppressor.

“The elders always mentioned the importance of one’s identity, its religion, nationality, and how to preserve them from vanishing. It was the same way of the Myanmar military junta trying to brainwash people and spread their propaganda. I felt very painful when I saw young demonstrators in Aung Pan get arrested and killed during the protest,” a youth who lives in Pae Yin Thaung told SHAN.

According to Daw Mee Nge’s analysis, the youth living in the Danu region had seen the brutality of the military regime which triggered them to revolt against the regime. In order to maintain the stability, the military has been increasing its effort of brutality in the region.

“I had to control my two sons. They were in pain when they saw their friends running away and killed. Even though it is now the plowing reason, they are not interested in the job anymore. We are also temporarily staying away from our village at the moment. The elders are afraid that they will not be able to farm and starve while the young ones want revenge – both are traumatized,” a mother of two adult sons, Daw Mee Nge, told SHAN.

As the conflicts are mounting in the Danu areas, Ywangan and Pindaya, Myanmar military junta is planning to form its local militia called Danu Army by enlisting the locals.

“They want us to fight one another – divide and rule. The Danu Army is actually the Byu Saw Htee (Military militia group). It is very painful to see some Danu elders are advocating for the military to form this armed group so that we could kill one another,” a Pindaya native told SHAN.

As the conflicts are spreading more into the region, the Myanmar military is showing more of its harshness by shelling recklessly, arresting people with no reasons, and burning down the locals’ houses. One the other hand, this cruelty and inhumane acts are the reasons that motivate the young people to revolt and fight back the regime.

“More arrests are made, and more houses are burned these days. The natives are stopped and checked to confiscate mobile phones and money. Even when farmers transport the crops, they got robbed by the junta soldiers. So, the young cannot take this, and the situation will only get worse and worse,” Daw Mee Nge explained the situation.

According to a Pindaya resident, the locals feel helpless because the Danu elders and leaders are helping the Myanmar military to form its militia group instead of defending its people from the oppression and brutality of the Myanmar military. Moreover, it is questionable to see the Danu political parties did not win the election during the previous three consecutive general elections.

According to the latest data collected, as the oppression and brutality of the military regime grows stronger, so does the motivation of the young people to fight back the regime.

“They are now killing our innocent villagers. If we are not fighting back, the future of our Danu women and youth will be gone. The next generation will also be oppressed, and they will live in trauma. We can always rebuild our wealth but we will never get back our future if it is taken. So, the youth both women and men of the Danu people will have to lead this revolution in order to liberate our Danu region from this military oppressor,” Daw Mee Nge voiced her call for the Danu people and region.

The data of those murdered by the military regime in Pae Yin Thaung village:

  • Ko Thin Pe, 48
  • Ko Hla So, 30
  • Ko Tun Oo, 43
  • Mg Thet Aung, 37
  • Ko Myo Htwe, 27
  • Ko Win Naing, 50
  • Ko Ba Htoo
  • Ko Hla Shwe
  • Ko Phoe Byaung

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