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Burmese government troops use civilians as human shields: KNU

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – During a four-month period from early January to late April, Burmese government troops have used 2,051 civilians including women as human shields, according to a Karen National Union (KNU) statement on Thursday.

Troops of the military wing of the Karen National Union, which issued a statement this week saying Burmese troops have been using civilians as human shields.  Photo: MizzimaThe statement said the Burmese government used 2,051 civilians as forced labour and 1,220 villagers as mine sweepers and human shields. The alleged incidents occurred in five regions of Karen State, according to the statement.

KNU joint General-Secretary Major Padoh Saw Hla Ngwe told Mizzima, ‘At the front, without the villagers assistance, they used to take the wrong roads and sometimes they would take a week for a one-day trip in unfamiliar areas. So, they ordered villagers to give them directions. In the past, we used to shoot the government troops when they went to the riverside for water. Now they use the villagers as human shields’.

The KNU statement urged the UN and democratic countries to set up an international commission to investigate the government’s crimes against humanity and human rights abuse.

‘If an international commission wants to inquire, there is no problem. We do not harm civilians. We have weaknesses because we have to struggle for the survival of our organization, but we are ready to accept any inquires from any international commission’, Padoh Saw Hla Ngwe said.

Mizzima could not confirm the KNU information from other sources.

Meanwhile, the KNU said that 57 exchanges of gunfire and 31 ambushes took place between government troops and the KNU in April.

Recently, 12 ethnic armed group formed a military-political alliance, the United Nationalities Federal Council. The military wing of the alliance is lead by KNU General Mutu Saypo.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 July 2011 20:40 )  

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