EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 16/05/95
UA 75/95 Fear for Safety / Arbitary Detention 22 March 1995
Myanmar 4 men and 6 women from Tachilek
(formerly Burma) 6 other men
Amnesty International fears for the safety of a number of people recently rounded
up by the Myanmar army to serve as porters during the army's on-going offensive
in the Shan state against the Mong Tai Army (MTA).
On 12 March 1995 the Myanmar Army (the Tatmadaw) entered the Akha village of
Ban Gor Tai, and took six men as porters. A further four girls and one man
from the village are still missing. The other residents have since fled to
the Thai border to escape the Tatmadaw.
On 21 March the Tatmadaw rounded up porters from the town of Tachilek. The
army ordered the headman of each "quarter" (district) of Tachilek to provide
eight porters. Porters were taken from the quarters of Bong Tun, Ta Law, Wan
Kong, Mak Ka Ho Kam, Wan Seng Sai, Wan Ma Khaw, Long Luk, Fang Min, Mong Ko
and Mong Pong amongst others. In addition, other residents of Tachilek were
picked up at random by the Tatmadaw on the evening of 21 March, also to serve
as porters for the army. Up to 500 porters are being used by the Tatmadaw in
the fighting around Tachilek and another 500 have been detained to act as porters
around Mong Hsat.
On 20 March four young Shan women and six young Shan men were detained at the
Shan border town of Tachilek in connection with the MTA attack on Tatmadaw
positions in Tachilek that day. They are being held in the Military Intelligence
(MI) office in Tachilek. It is believed that these young people are innocent
civilians who are not involved with the MTA.
Over 100 people remain as refugees in the Tam Pha Chom temple in the Thai town
of Mai Sai, just over the border from Tachilek. Their houses were destroyed
by the Tatmadaw during the fighting with the MTA on 20 March. The army are
now claiming ownership of the land on which the houses stood and telling the
owners they will have to relocate. The refugees fear that if they return to
Tachilek they will be taken as porters by the Tatmadaw.
In mid-March the army of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
government of Myanmar launched an offensive against the MTA in the Shan state
in north east Myanmar. The MTA are calling for an independent Shan state. On
Monday 20 March the MTA launched an attack on army barracks and army guest
houses in the town of Tachilek; the MTA withdrew after an hour. Following this
attack at least five civilians were killed and 36 were injured by the Tatmadaw
as they destroyed houses and shot civilians while looking for remaining members
of the MTA. One man, who with his wife and baby daughter had been shot by the
army, stated "Burmese soldiers stormed my house to search for MTA soldiers
and shot everyone".
The MTA are one of the many ethnic groups who have been fighting for independence
from Myanmar for nearly 50 years. The MTA are one of the few ethnic groups
who have not signed a peace accord with the SLORC within the last two years.