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Chin villagers forced to work as army porters

Feb 20, 2009 (DVB), State Peace and Development Council troops have been forcing local people to work as porters during offensives against Arakan Liberation Party fighters in Paletwa township, Chin state.

Soldiers from Infantry Battalion, 289 forced villagers from Mwe-Letwa, Myeikwa, Shin-Letwa and Kalachaung to carry supplies and ammunition for the army to the Indian border through high mountains.

ALP guerrillas have been ambushing Burmese army supply convoys by the sea route.

The army is carrying out the offensives to clear the rebels from the region, ALP secretary major Khaing Myo Win said.

"We ambushed the enemy and confiscated their supplies two days ago while they were carrying them by boats," he said.

"Our people and villagers carried them for us. When the army found this out they began targeting our area mainly."

Indian border guarding troops are also close to border crossing points on the request of IB, 289. Villagers are worried they will be forced out of their villages to settle in India as refugees if there are clashes.

Reporting by Khin Maung Soe Min


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