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Burmese government not following international policy on captives

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – In a prisoner exchange last week, the Burmese government violated international policy on the release of prisoners, according to the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).

Elements of the KIA army are traveling on the road to Laiza in this file photo. Photo: MizzimaOn Wednesday, the KIO captured Captain Myat Ko Ko and Lieutenant Ko Ko Win and one soldier from the government’s Infantry Unit 437 near Momauk Township in Kachin State.

In an exchange of captives on Thursday, the KIO released them. But following the prisoner exchange, the KIO said one of its soldiers was returned to them dead.

Lance Corporal Chan Ying who was captured by the Burmese army had died under torture, the KIO claimed.

The Burmese army said Lance Corporal Chan Ying died from injuries he received during fighting. KIA officials said it found signs that he died from ‘brutal torture’, according to a letter sent by KIO official Hla Nang to Mizzima.  

“We found that he was severely beaten and stabbed’, he said. ‘He died from head injuries. His right hand was severely injured too. He was killed by brutal torture’.

He said the KIO has always followed international rules in dealing with captives. ‘We released all of them after interrogation’, Hla Nang said, implying Burmese government forces were not playing by international rules.  

He said government troops approached a KIA camp and arrested Lance Corporal Sau Ying and seized weapons.

During fighting on Thursday, at least two KIA soldiers were injured, the KIO said. Three government troops, including Captain Aung Myint Myat, died and nine soldiers were injured, including Captain Win Thein.

‘Under the [prisoner exchange] agreement, the KIO was required to release the two Burmese military officers and a private and the Burmese army has agreed to release KIA staff who were arrested earlier’, Aung Kyaw Zaw said.

During the engagement, the government offered the KIA a cease-fire, according to the letter. During the fighting, a mortar round fired by government troops landed at a factory compound in the Taping Hydropower Project area, where Chinese workers live.

KIO spokesman James Lundaung told Mizzima, ‘Both sides suffered casualties. I don’t want to say the exact number’.

‘If they continue to challenge us on the front lines, it will be bad’, the spokesperson added.

In October 2010, state-run newspapers labeled the KIA an ‘insurgent group’. In November, the government ordered the KIO to close its liaison offices and tensions on both sides have increased.

After the KIO rejected the former junta’s order to transform its troops into the Border Guard Force in September 2010, there have been growing tensions between the two sides. The KIO told the Burmese Northern Command to withdraw its troops no later than May 25 from the KIO terrritory, but government troops entered the area and fighting broke out on Thursday.

Last Updated ( Friday, 17 June 2011 17:46 )  
The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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