Aung Lin Htut is an ex-Military Intelligence, from Burmese Army. He now lives in USA.
Aung Lin Htut: :In 1998 May, I was in Tanintharyi division, Kawthoung city. We were based in the TaTatGyi Island, but for a front line they based in the Christie Island. That island is the water border between Burma and Thailand. When I said we, I meant together with Lt General Kyi Min from Navy. Now he is retired and served as secretary in the veteran organization. Another one is General Myint Swe, he is from Air force and now retired and another person is General Thura Myint Aung and currently he is responsible for SPDC south west command commander. These 3 people are from Army, navy and air force and Senior General Than Shwe arrange as (Ka Ka Kyi) for joint military force in TaTatGyi Military Base.
The station responsible for TaTatGyi base is Lt-colonel Mg Mg Tint. And Kawthaung base military operational Commander is Colonel Zaw Min. At the moment he is working for Ministry of Energy and general secretary of USDA. Under his commend , Commander in chief are Ka La Ya Lt Colonel Soe Tint and Lt Colonel Win Zaw.
Colonel Zaw Min and his commend were arrest 59 civilians, which include 3 years old girl and a woman who recently gave birth to a child. They are the normal civilians who use to live around the island and lived from cutting wood from forest.
But at that time the regional commander General Thiha Thura Sit Maung. He issued the statement 144 which not allow civilian to live in the island. I assumed at that time, they might be send back to Kawthoung and take action or taking the action under the immigration law. I believed they were arrested in April. In may, we received the order from the Military Headquarter in the middle of the night. The reason how we know _ I got that information from Lt General Kyi Min. Again he received that order from Ka Ka Kyi General Myint Swe via wire to execute all those civilian. He told all of us to carry out that order.
Aung Lin Htut: :It’s difficult to give reason why? These are defenseless civilian who hasn’t got any weapon to attack us. I was very sad. These things shouldn’t happen to them but as an army officer I witness and experienced the whole atrocities.
Lt General Kyi Min told all of us, and as a staff member I had to listen. When Kyi Min told that order there were thura Myint Aung, mg mg thit and Myint Swe were there. And then thura Myint Aung said, that’s order comes from above, we must carry out as it is. But Myint Swe is a religious person and he said we should double check with the order where it comes from? Because when that order came, it was around 21:30 and normally general Maung Aye is drunk by that time. This order must be come from him because he was drunk!
So Lt General Kyi Min decided to double check with headquarters after he listened to these two points of view. And order not to pass it on to their staff.
Next day morning, he received the information from headquarter as that order came from Than Shwe and not from Maung Aye.
VOA: :Is there any chance to change that order?
Aung Lin Htut: :No not a chance. At that time General thura myint aung is senior than Colonel Zaw min and Colonel zaw min carried out the order. As far as I know, the army killed all these 59 civilians at the shore of that island and buried there. If you go and excavated, you will find the remains.
VOA: :So is that order was carried out by colonel Zaw Min and his commend?
Aung Lin Htut: :Yes, Colonel Zaw Min and his two commanders in chief were carried out that order. I still have some photos in my office in Rangoon. At that time together with Zaw Min, military intelligence Colonel Myint Oo, now he is in prison and he took these pictures secretively. He gave back to me when I went back to Rangoon. I took it and when I arrived to the office I shown it to general Kyaw San and after that kept it in my cabinet. I don’t know is still there or not!
VOA: :Is there any further discussion within military General?
Aung Lin Htut: :This is the minor incident for them. Since 1997 they instructed us to kill every one including child carried by a woman. That order was carried by General Maung Bo. This is official order carried out by mouth, especially when we are in battlefield.
VOA: :Which area?
Aung Lin Htut: :These order are carried out especially in Karen state, Mon state, Shan state and Tanintharyi division. These are the area they regards as brown area. Mainly these killing occur because of the force relocation from the military. Local’s villagers didn’t want to move and army force people to move in these methods.
VOA: :So that massacre in Christie Island was witness by you (U Aung Lin Htut)?
Aung Lin Htut: :Yes, that killing of 59 civilians is not the only one. After that incident one or two days later, there was a Thai fishing boat from Arakhan state coming down to Tanintharyi region. That fishing boat is legally registered in Arakhan port. That boat is going to Ranong to export their catch that boat came closed to Christie island. I am not sure 304 or 305 navy-ship but commander in chief is Aung Gyi. And they reported to Lt General Kyi Min and he passed that report to headquarter. Headquarter instructed the navy ship to kill all these people on that boat. They killed all 22 Thai people on Christie island. And they burnt down that ship in the sea. It took a week to sink that ship. So it’s all together 71 civilian.
VOA: :Is there any problem with Thai authorities?
Aung Lin Htut: :No, but nobody knew. Burmese general order in that region they instructed us to clear the area. They don’t want anyone alive and they officially said it. But these kind of action began from 1996… uhm….97 and carry on till today.