ISSN 2330-717X

Burma Army Turns Deaf Ear To Halt War In Kachin State – OpEd

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By Zin Linn

Burma’s President Thein Sein civilian government has been maneuvering war against the Kachin rebels incessantly, although there are heavy casualties on its side. Starting from 9 June, the six-month long civil war claimed more than a thousand lives of government soldiers.

Recently, President Thein Sein has issued an instruction to Burma’s Commander-in-Chief to halt the offensive against the KIO. However, the war continues and people continue to run for their lives. So, the speech of the government is not consistent with the attempt of its armed forces.

As a consequence of the warfare between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burma Army, local inhabitants were fleeing from Kachin State to Northern Shan State, but authorities have taken no responsibility for them, quoting locals eyewitnesses, Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N) said.

According to one Nam-Kham resident, more than 400 victims arrived at the church last week. The victims said that the Burmese soldiers had bombarded their village as well as its surroundings. Altogether 456 people, mostly Shan and Kachin from Kachin State, reached Nam-Kham, Northern Shan State, in the evening of 12 December, Shan Herald Agency for News reported.

The victims are children, women and the elderly from villages including Kat-Para, Nam-Hsar, Oo-Lampa and Kha-Shan in Mansi Township, Kachin State. They had fled because they were afraid of being mistreated by the Burmese soldiers, according to one of the displaced people.

A temporary refugee camp has been set up by the Catholic abbot at Aung Myitta and Sa Lay Tan wards and provided for their requirements, a civilian official in Aung Myitta ward said.

The abbot and the neighborhood residents provided blankets, clothes, household utensils and food for the victims but government officials provided nothing. Instead, they asked questions like whether the war refugees had their ID cards or not.

As reported by Shan Herald Agency for News, more than 10,000 victims are fleeing to Bhamo, Waing Maw and Myitkyina. There are 40,000 displaced people said to be at Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)’s Laiza area. The United Nations organizations are there to help them, according to KIO sources.

On 14 December, the state-run New Light of Myanmar claimed that the central government provided a significant amount of aid to needy refugees living in the KIO-controlled territory on Monday December 12.

But, the KIO dismissed the news of aid to refugees in the government media. According to Kachin News Group, representatives of the KIO have proved their false propaganda published in Burmese government state-media about the central government’s “humanitarian” contribution to refugees displaced by fighting in Kachin and Northern Shan state.

It was a UN convoy carrying humanitarian aid that arrived into the KIO territory on December 12, but there were no governmental “humanitarian” contribution to refugees. The state-media’s description of the aid convoy is misleading and false, the KIO said.

Last month, representatives of the President Thein Sein government and the KIO met twice for talks which have so far failed to bring about a halt to the fighting. The Burmese army continues to send in troops to the area, leading many to conclude that Naypyidaw wants to bring about a military solution to the conflict.

Local sources on the ground in the Kachin state say that during the past week the Kachin resistance has inflicted a large number of casualties on poorly trained Burmese conscript troops, as the central government’s offensive against the Kachin Independence Organization enters its seventh month.

According to a KIA source, in the outskirts of Dingga village there were more than 10 burial sites where fallen Burmese soldiers had recently been buried. One Burmese officer was among those fallen soldiers in the area, said a KIA officer to the Kachin News Group on Friday. The officer also said that the Burmese army’s arson attack on the village appeared to be in retaliation to losing so many of their comrades to the Kachin resistance.

In September, the US-based NGO ‘Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)’ conducted an investigation in Burma’s Kachin State in response to reports of grave human rights violations in the region. PHR found that between June and September 2011, the Burmese army looted food from civilians, fired indiscriminately into villages, threatened villages with attacks, and used civilians as porters and human minesweepers.

Asian Correspondent

Asian Correspondent

Asian Correspondent is an English-language liberal news, blogs and commentary online newspaper serving all of the Asia-Pacific region. The website covers asian business, politics, technology, the environment, education, new media and Asia society issues.

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