Monthly Archives: February 2011

Reducing the number of political prisoners?

A riot police van is seen close to the gates of Insein prison in Rangoon

Five ten-wheeler trucks guarded by four trucks packed with armed riot police left Insein Jail on Tuesday. Other trucks have left other jails recently. Perhaps the Myanmar Army Junta that rules Burma with an iron fist is reducing the numbers of political prisoners. But how? Where are the political prisoners going? They are NOT being freed.

 

DVB learnt last month that some 800 prisoners had been taken from their cells in central and eastern Burma and used as porters to carry equipment for frontline troops in Karen state.

Three porters who managed to escape to Thailand told DVB that they were chained and made to carry supplies through the mountainous terrain in eastern Burma.

The Burmese army is known to have used civilians as minesweepers, forcing them to walk in front of patrols to ensure troops don’t take the full blast of a landmine.

“They ordered us porters to take the middle of the road while soldiers walk along the side of the road,” Pho Aye, who managed to escape after being sent to Karen state from Bassein prison, told DVB in late January. “A porter named Pho Thar Aung died when he stepped on a landmine and two soldiers were slightly injured from shrapnel.”

How long can the world stand by and ignore such activity?