World News

Uninhabited villages, armed militias have spread to eastern Myanmar | Conflicting Issues

No one is left in the village of Mi Meh.

When the military began firing indiscriminately into the town of Demoso in the southeastern part of Kayah, also known as Karenni, everyone fled into the woods.

As soon as he had the clothes on his back and a small rope tied around the floor, Mi Meh and others in his village set up camp. When Al Jazeera spoke to him on May 27, he was short of food and water, his clothes were soaked with heavy rain and he had not bathed for more than a week.

But the main concern for Mi Meh was his safety. “Often jets fly at the top,” he said. “We have a lot of wives and children here… I’m sorry because [the military] he has no personality. He can kill us at any time. ”

Al Jazeera has used the pseudonym Mi Meh, who like several people interviewed in the case, spoke out anonymously because the military continues to arrest and kill those who oppose or oppose it.

The town of Mi Meh is one of several areas in nearby Kayah and nearby Shan State where people will be forced to flee soon. According to UN estimates, between 85,000 and 100,000 people from the towns of Demoso, Loikaw and Hpruso in Kayah and Pekon and Hsiseng districts in Shan state fled their homes within 10 days following May 21, when war broke out. among the Tatmadaw, where Myanmar’s military is known, and the Karenni People’s Defense Force (KPDF).

The KPDF is one of the most active militias since the end of March, with decades of conflict between the armed forces and Tatmadaw also dominated. In the first two months following the February 1 military coup, millions took to the streets seeking to return to power, but the threat of Tatmadaw – so far killing 849 civilians and arresting more than 5,800 – has fueled widespread resistance to weapons.

“From the Burmese military [Tatmadaw] kidnapping and killing innocent people, there is no other way for people but to protect themselves with whatever means they can, ”the Kayah leader told Al Jazeera. “They [civilian defence forces] they do not have the same power as the Burmese government … but they have the will and the determination to resist evil. ”

Combining groups

Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Representative Committee (CRPH), made up of ousted councilors, ratified the people’s right to self-defense on March 14. On May 5, the National Unity Government appointed by CRPH, which runs the shadowy anti-military government, announced the establishment of Army of the Army, a war zone that could unite the armed forces with other opposition groups in the country.

Human rights activists in Kayah did not fall under the People’s Defense Force but, as of June 2, have joined forces on the ground to form the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF).

Having home-made guns, Karenni’s fighters are the ones who have been found as a military force that, according to the Stockholm Peace Institute, has bought $ 2.4bn in cash over the past 10 years, mainly in China and Russia. Before and after all this, the Tatmadaw did not hesitate to use these weapons against civilians, especially in war-torn areas.

A member of the People’s Defense Force (PDF) develops a handgun to be used against militants near Demoso in Kayah state on June 4, 2021. [Stringer/AFP]

“The military has been violating human rights for many years, but now it is becoming more and more evident … [violations] it happens every day, “said Khu Te Bu of the Karenni National Progressive Party and deputy interior minister under the auspices of the National Unity Government.

On June 2, the KNPP urgently called for Tatmadaw to end threats and intimidation of aid workers and civilians and to open closed roads so that food and supplies could enter the state. It also called on the UN, international governments and humanitarian organizations to assist refugees and to support Tatmadaw for its actions.

Examples of the Tatmadaw violence that has been raging since decades of human rights abuses that Karenni, as well as other minorities in Myanmar, were persecuted by the Tatmadaw, who followed civilians in areas where the armed forces fought for independence and freedom the same. In Kayah, thousands were forced to move into refugee camps or to cross the forest or to cross the border into Thailand, especially in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

“Since May 21, we have been experiencing similar atrocities such as the previous wars,” Banya Kun Aung of the Karenni Human Rights Organization told Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera’s call for a military spokesman to report human rights abuses and attacks on civilians in Kayah since May 21 has not been answered.

Churches attacked

The latest fighting in Kayah began on May 21, when Tatmadaw’s troops opened fire on Demos’ residences and arrested 13 people. The KPDF, sometimes supported by local armed forces, destroyed police, hid soldiers and fired shots.

A photo taken from the Kantarawaddy Times press release and released on May 24, 2021 shows a church destroyed in which four people were killed in a skirmish [Kantarawaddy Times via AFP]

Mr Tatmadaw responded with a series of air raids and raids in the air.

“They are shooting at anyone who can see,” said Banya Kun Aung of the Karenni Human Rights Organization. “Ordinary people have been arrested for political reasons.”

The KPDF claims to have killed more than 120 members of Tatmadaw, according to Al Jazeera journalists. Meanwhile, Yangon’s newspaper The Irrawaddy reported that at least 8 human rights activists and 23 civilians were killed in Kayah and neighboring towns of Shan State between May 21 and 31.

Among the casualties were a teenager who was shot in the head and handcuffed after being arrested on May 24 in Loikaw town and a 14-year-old boy was shot dead in Loikaw town on May 27, the last of more than 73 children to be killed by security forces, according to the National Unity Government.

Churches have been repeatedly attacked in predominantly Christian communities. On May 24, four people were killed and at least eight others were injured when heavy artillery hit a Catholic church in Loikaw town where more than 300 villagers had fled.

The mayor told Al Jazeera that on May 29, Tatmadaw’s troops entered a Catholic seminary in Loikaw where more than 1,300 people were sleeping, killing chefs and volunteering. On the same day, according to the local leader, Tatmadaw seized and seized the Catholic parish house and became a nunnery in Demoso. On June 6, the Catholic Church in Demoso called the Queen of Peace, which hoisted the white flag of peace, was destroyed by weapons. “If the churches are no longer safe for people to run to and be protected, then where can we find a safe place?” He asked the village motel.

The Tatmadaw justified their attacks on temples, churches, and administrations, saying the site was “a genocide.”

Humanitarian activities have been hampered by insecurity, roadblocks, the dangers of human mines and long or illegal methods, according to the UN.

Local media have reported that Tatmadaw cut off access to Kayah State from Shan State and roads to Loikaw, Kayah’s capital.

Min Aung Hlaing’s army met with ASEAN spies and a Red Cross leader last week [Myanmar Ministry of Information via EPA]

‘Shooting all day’

On June 3, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross met with Chief of Defense Forces Min Aung Hlaing to express his concern about developments in Myanmar and “encouraging ongoing trials ensuring access to fair and impartial justice for all. ”

In Kayah, the Tatmadaw has been a relentless onslaught of intimidation and threats against humanitarian workers trying to help refugees in recent wars.

On May 26, security forces shot dead two young men who were providing food from a church to displaced people in the town of Demoso and arrested three volunteers who were returning from aid there. The next day, a young volunteer with the Free Burma Ranger, a Christian aid group, was shot dead in Demoso while trying to help civilians.

A spokeswoman for the Karenni National Women’s Organization (KNWO), the Kayah Security Monitoring Agency, told Al Jazeera that the Kayah highlands were also experiencing difficulties in dissemination. “From the top, it can look like [displacement sites] they are near one another, but one place is far away; maybe just cross the mountains again, ”he said.

Like other areas in the country that have been in dire need of people since the government’s crackdown, he said food shortages were growing. On May 27, militants shot dead two young men in the town of Demoso who were returning home to collect rice. “[People] they are afraid of returning home to take supplies because they do not know where the soldiers are hiding or pointing their guns, “he told Al Jazeera.

Thousands of people fled to the jungle to escape the war [Stringer/AFP]

Those trapped in cities and towns, including the elderly and the infirm, are also facing food shortages, as it is time to return home and the ongoing violence has left them homeless. “We buy food fast… Besides, we don’t go abroad kupita because [Tatmadaw] bandits can shoot at us at any time, ”said a woman in Loikaw, whose name has not been released. “I hear gunshots all day.”

Officials say they are also entering the house to get food and valuables, in line with what is seen in some parts of the country. “She entered the house and took everything, including rice, oil, and salt … She took what she wanted and destroyed the houses,” she said.

As the rainy season approaches, aid groups warn that there may be severe food shortages if farmers in conflict zones are unable to plant their crops, and health concerns are mounting.

Insufficient space and hygiene leave people at risk of malaria and diarrhea, while access to treatment and health services remains high. “There are only a handful of nurses among the homeless but they have also left,” a KNWO spokesman told Al Jazeera. Adding to the problems, local support groups are lacking funding. “We have local donors who can afford to give less … we don’t know if we can handle it,” he said.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button