February 9, 2017
Mission Report for Muthraw and Toungoo Districts in Karen State and parts of southern Karenni State
After ten weeks of training the teams embarked on a mission to bring help, hope and love to the villagers in northern Karen and southern Karenni States. The rangers have learned many skills during the training such as land navigation, human rights documentation, Good Life club, and medicine and are ready to put them to use.
Our team consisted of teams from northern and southern Karen State, Karenni, Arakan, Shan, and Kachin States. Many times it is the first chance villagers in these areas meet other ethnic groups from different parts of Burma. The love and encouragement these rangers give to the villagers they meet go a long way and lets the villagers know that it is many different ethnic groups in Burma standing along-side of them working for freedom and peace. Our mission visited 6 different villages in Muthraw, Toungoo districts of Karen State and also southern Karenni State. At each place the FBR team held a Good Life Club program for school children and ran a small make shift clinic to see patients. The FBR medics treated 460 patients on this mission.
In January of 2008 we had visited some of the same villages in northern Karen State. At that time most of these villagers had left their village for fear of Burma Army attacks and were living up in the mountains in a hiding side in small make-shift shelters that could barely keep out the rain. The Burma Army had come many times and killed many villagers and burned their homes and the people in this area had to flee often. Villagers would keep all their belongings in baskets by the door ready to flee at a moment’s notice
The ceasefire process has allowed a lot of changes in these areas. Now villages feel more secure and permanent. Villagers have had a chance to rebuild their homes, churches, and schools. They have installed water pipes so each home can have running water. They have built bigger trails so they can use motorbikes to carry their crops from their farms back to their village. They have been able to set up shops and their baskets are now stored away and they no longer need to be packed to flee.
While the risk of attack is way less than it used to be they are still living in a country where they don’t have freedom. The Burma Army camps in this area are still in the same place but have been built up and resupplied with more weapons. The villagers still live in fear of the Burma Army. The villagers here also have no right to vote and have no representation in the government. While the cease-fire process has helped these villagers it still has a long way to go in giving these people access to the rights they deserve.
Our Free Burma Ranger relief teams are wrapping up this mission and many plan next to travel to Kachin State to help in those areas where the Burma Army is still attacking civilians in IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps.
These FBR teams are well trained and equipped with the knowledge that they can make a difference. They can bring help, hope, and love to people under attack. They can report on what the Burma Army is doing and bring it to the attention of the world. They have faith in a living God and are ready to serve him. They know what the Burmese government is allowing their army to do in Kachin State to this countries citizens is wrong. Therefore they want to go and stand with the people there and tell the world that what is happening is not right and is not just. We are ready to go.
Thank You and God Bless You,
Free Burma Rangers