“Maybe, as the military does not give enough salary to its troops, soldiers commit robbery in the villages. They even steal rice cookers.”

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The junta troops are committing crimes, such as robbery and mugging valuable property of people in the villages of pro or anti-military supporters’ villages in  Tanintharyi region, this month. Soldiers also threatened to kill PDF supporters and protesters and to burn their villages.

This interview with Ko Min Lwin Oo, the member of Dawei District Strike Committee, is about human rights violations of the military council in Dawei district and their robbery of valuable items of people.

TLT: Could you talk first about attacks and human rights violations of the military council on civilians in Dawei district?

Min Lwin Oo: Soldiers of the military council randomly shot people on the roads in late February. Along with pro-military Pyusawhtee members, soldiers raid villages. In some cases, young people were arbitrarily killed. They also killed the elderly persons. Soldiers carried out offensive attacks on villages, and set fire to houses of people who allegedly have contact with PDF.

TLT: It is reportedly known that the military council troops robbed valuable items of people such as gold, money and motorcycles in Dawei district. What is your view on these incidents?

Min Lwin Oo: During the offensives of military columns, they threaten people with shooting people and destroying the village. In two villages in our area, soldiers searched the houses for what they wanted without any cause or without any contact with PDF. They raided the houses of the rich. They did it like a robbery. They also confiscated high-priced motorcycles with or without license although they returned the outdated one with licenses.

TLT: How do people feel about the anarchism of the military council, and what is their concern?

Min Lwin Oo: People do not feel safe at present for both life and property. Even the banks are not safe. So, people have many worries about their belongings. Maybe, as the military does not give enough salary to its troops, soldiers commit robbery in the villages. They even steal rice cookers. We know that these soldiers sent back the stolen items to their wives at home.

TLT: Why have the military council oppressed civilians in Dawei district? What is your view on it?

Min Lwin Oo: While the military council has faced pressures in various sectors, the economy of country continues its downward trend. So, the military could not give a good salary to its troops. And that military council’s forces commit robbery. Traffic police takes bribery in their duties. It has been worse at present, and they are likely to have been ‘licensed killers or robbers’.  Villages far-flung from resistance forces are more dangerous. The military troops raid the villages, whether their supporters or not.

TLT: What kinds of war crimes are being committed by the military at present?

Min Lwin Oo: They committed various war crimes and human rights violations. Civilians should not be targeted in the war. If any military outpost is attacked, they carry out artillery attacks on nearby villages in retaliation.  They have no rules.

TLT: What is your concluding remark on this interview?

Min Lwin Oo: We provide all the possible assistance. But we cannot do anything sometimes. The dictators are threatening people to hold their power. It is their long-term strategy. It is a reason for people to have fear, but we don’t need to be afraid of them if you fight against them in collaboration. We need to end the military dictatorship. So, people are advised to safeguard their important documents and money and practically cooperate in the revolution.

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