Monday, 18 November 2019

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Villages burnt, Karen villagers hide in jungles


Chiangmai (Mizzima) -  Villagers are being killed and houses being burnt to the ground in Karen state by the Burmese Army to occupy territory and to divert the attention of people opposing the proposed 2010 elections in Burma, the Karen Nation United (KNU) alleged.

On 17 January, 13 houses were burnt down and two villagers killed in Khae Dae village, Nyaung Lei Pin district, in eastern Pegu Division allegedly by Burmese soldiers of the Light Infantry Battalion 367 under the Military Operation Command.

Major Saw Hla Ngwe, Secretary I of the KNU told Mizzima that "KNU opposed the 2008 constitution and is determined to oppose the planned 2010 elections. It is our duty to oppose the elections. The Burmese junta is diverting the attention of the people so that they cannot oppose the elections".

The KNU is Burma's largest and longest continuing insurgent group fighting the Burmese regime.

"More than 1,000 Karen residents from 10 villages including Khae Dae villages have been displaced and are hiding in the jungle," he added.

The Free Burma Rangers (FBR), a volunteer relief organization working to help the displaced villagers in Karen State, said villagers, who fled to the jungle without extra clothes, are mired in difficulties.

Baw Phoe, a member of FBR told Mizzima that shelter, food and health conditions are terrible. They are not getting enough and are making do with some aid from FBR.

Saw Steve of a Karen relief group, the Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People said "we will be helping along with Free Burma Rangers refugees, who have been hiding in jungles, prioritizing those whose houses were gutted."

In Nyaung Lei Pin district, there are clashes between the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) jointly with the Burmese Army. The KNU has accused the Burmese Army and DKBA of attacking villages in the area.

The KNLA is the military wing of the KNU. The DKBA broke away from the KNU in 1994 and has a ceasefire with the junta.

Burmese Army's Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #363 and (LIB) #367 are operating in Kyaung Kyi Township in Nyaung Lei Pin district. (LIB) #365 and (LIB) #370 are based in areas of Mone Township.

There are about 4,000 refugees currently taking shelter in seven refugee camps in Tak Province, Thailand along the border with Burma after they fled exploitative abuse following joint military offensives by the DKBA and Burmese Army against the KNU forces in June last year.

The troops have been operating near the Ler  Per Her camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Dta Greh Township, Pa’an District, according to a report released today by a Karen Human Rights Group. The group said that refugees continue to face serious obstacles in safely returning to their villages.

 

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