On October 28, 2012, Dau Lum was harvesting corn with his wife and father when the Burmese army came. At gunpoint, they were forced to carry their crops up a mountain to the army camp and hand over their food.
They were then bound and held captive. Fortunately, Dau and his father were able to undo their restraints. They ran from the camp, dodging bullets, as the Burmese army gave chase. They reached safety only when they fell down a ravine and could no longer be pursued.
Dau’s wife was not as fortunate. She remained a prisoner of the army.
Two days later Dau traveled to a location from which the army camp could be viewed safely. He saw his wife at the camp wearing a Burmese army uniform. He has not seen her since. Her fate remains unknown.
Dau holds out hope that he will one day be reunited with his wife. He is now taking care of their 21-month-old baby with the help of his sister-in-law.
Abductions by the Burmese army happen all too often. The army often forces civilians — including children — to porter for the soldiers. Captured civilians risk being tortured and even killed. There are also reports of women being used as sex slaves and children being forced to fight with the army.