Local Thugs Bully Civilians Trapped in Ywathit

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Some of the residents of Ywathit, a town in Bawlakhe District that’s been occupied by invading Burma army troops, are collaborating with the regime’s forces to loot and intimidate other civilians.

“They are cooperating with the Military Council and breaking into the homes of other locals to steal their valuables. Locals were ordered to retrieve their motorcycles from their hiding places at night,” a man from Ywathit told Kantarawaddy Times on condition of anonymity.

“Residents are terrified and dare not complain, fearing they’ll be arrested by the Burma army. These thugs have prevented people from returning to their homes.”

Since June, the majority of the residents in the town in Karenni State, with an original population of 500, have been compelled to stay in Buddhist monasteries and are only permitted to return to their homes to collect food when the soldiers grant permission. Despite having some food stockpiled, without replenishment, it will only last for a few months.

Furthermore, the Burma army won’t permit them to work on their farms. Nothing has been delivered to Ywathit since the Military Council launched an offensive in March.

Fighting has been intense in Ywar Thit, Hpasawng, and Mese townships from June to July after several units of the Karenni National People’s Liberation Front, formerly a Border Guard Force, defected and took up the fight against the military regime. Thousands were compelled to seek refuge from the violence, with many people crossing the border into Thailand, while others hid in the jungle or moved in with their relatives.

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