Update on Burma Army Activity in Kachin State and Northern Shan State27 October 2014 Kachin State and Northern Shan State, Burma
Clashes between the Burma Army and ethnic resistance groups continue, despite ongoing peace talks and the presence of United Nations humanitarian aid workers in Kachin State. Burma Army activity in Kachin State and northern Shan State shows frequent troop movements and increasing use of reconnaissance aircraft. There are claims that civilians are being conscripted into Burma militia training; Burma Army troops make a regular practice of establishing checkpoints to monitor civilian movements, especially along rivers, railroads and bridges and the Burma Army frequently pressures civilians into paying bribes at these check points. Hundreds of Burma Army soldiers have been stationed in northern Shan State, which has seen some of the heaviest concentration of military clashes in 2014.
The following report highlights recent military clashes between the Burma Army and Kachin and Ta’ang resistance armies, as well as injustices that the Burma Army has perpetrated against civilians in the area, including deaths, torture, detainment and looting.
**Note: these numbers are from reports from FBR team members and do not represent the totality of military activity in Kachin State.
During the months of August and September there were approximately 2,610 Burma Army troops moved throughout Kachin and northern Shan states. This rate of movement jumped in October, with more than 1,540 troops moved during the one week period from 6 to 14 October. This number reflects Burma Army troop movements totaling more than 40 soldiers at a time.
During August and September 2014 there were 19 clashes between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). Six Burma Army soldiers were killed and five were wounded. One Kachin Independence Army soldier was killed and three were wounded. Three clashes between the Burma Army and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) forces occurred between the 6th -14th October and resulted in the deaths of three Burma Army soldiers with six wounded.
On 8 October Burma Army Infantry Battalion (IB) 290 and KIA 9th Battalion exiting from Ta Mung Nye Village had a chance contact at Mung Tawng Hkyet Village near Dak Nai, Kutkai Township, northern Shan State.
At 23:30 on 8 October a clash between Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 217 and Mungshawa Hpyen Hpung (MHH – a Kachin Militia group) resulted in the deaths of one Burma Army captain and private. Three more Burma Army soldiers were wounded. This clash occurred as the Burma Army was moving between Mung Dung Hpai Kawng and Pang Sai, Muse Township. An increased Burma Army presence in Hpai Kawng of approximately 70 soldiers has followed this clash.
On 6 October a clash occurred between Burma Army LIB 217, IB 221 and MHH Company 5 in Hka Chyang Village while the Burma Army was en route from Kha Lum, Muse Township. One Burma Army soldier was killed and three were wounded.
Burma Army Activity
On 14 October IB 1 Commander Maj. Kyaw Zay Yar under 66th Army Division command gave warning to Kachin Independence Army forces that the KIA must retreat by 17:00 on the 14th or the Burma Army would attack their positions in Tang Gau and Ginsi Hall villages, Hpakant Township, Kachin State.
On 12 October approximately 300 Burma Army soldiers under 88th Army Division command set up positions at Kung Sa Village near Namhkam in Kuthkai Township, northern Shan State.
At 02:30 on 11 October an estimated 150 armed policemen arrived in Seng Hpra Village, Kachin State.
At 11:10 on 9 October a reconnaissance airplane departed from Myitkyina and flew over Jahtu Zup and Nawng Mi Villages three times before returning to its airbase in Danai Township, Kachin State.
On 8 October 20 Burma Army soldiers of 370th Artillery Battalion set up two 105 mm howitzers at Sin Lum Village. Another 47 Burma Army soldiers from the same unit set up two 76 mm mortars, one 105mm howitzer, and one 120 mm artillery at Loi Ying Village, Momauk Township, Kachin State.
At 10:45 on 7 September the Burma Army flew a reconnaissance airplane over Danai Township, Kachin State.
On 6 October approximately 100 Burma Army soldiers set up positions around Mung Len Pa and Hka Yat Nam Yan Village, western Kachin State.
On 6 October, a woman by the name of Malang Htu Lum, 58 years old, was killed by a land mine while foraging for bamboo roots. The complete report on that incident can be found here.
Summary of Military Activity in August and September in Kachin State
Civilians Being Conscripted Into Militia
On 30 August 2014 local residents claimed that 30 men were forced to attend military training in Pangwa and Chihpwi townships in KIA 7th Brigade territory. Locals stated that if there is more than one male member per family, they are required to participate in militiatraining under the command of Zahkung Ting Ring, a Border Guard Force(BGF) leader.
50-Year-Old Kachin Woman Killed By Landmine Explosion
On 22 August, a 50-year-old Kachin woman named Hpauyu Hkawn Tawng, wife of Mr. Mankang La Doi, was killed by a landmine explosion. The landmine was planted by the Burma Army at a road between Myothit and Dumbang Zup Villages in Momauk Township of Bhamo District, KIA 25th Battalion under 5th Brigade.
Kachin Man Captured and Tortured by Burma Army Troops
At 10:00 on 12 August, Mr. Yaw Ying, a 50-year-old man from Hkum Tsai Village, was arrested and tortured by Burma Army troops under 66th Army Division command while they were in Kap Maw Village. Afterwards, soldiers sent him to Nam Ya hospital, which is located in Hpakant Township in KIA 2nd Brigade territory.
Civilian Jade Miners in Hpakant and Momouk Townships Detained By Burma Army Troops
On 25 August, civilian jade miners were unlawfully arrested and taken into custody by Burma Army troops while they were mining jade at Ta Ya Kung in Hpakant Township in KIA 6th Battalion under 2nd Brigade. Earlier in the month on 3 August, 42 civilian gold miners from Dawhpum and Hpa Gyi Villages, working between Mungdung Dabang and Dum Hpawng Bum in Momouk Township, were detained at 19:30 local time by Burma Army Infantry Battalion (IB) 142. They were released the next day.
Burma Army Activity Forces 319 People from their Homes
On 10 August, 319 civilians from 91 families were found to be residing in two Kachin churches in Sabaw Maw Village. The villagers had fled their homes because of the activity of Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 108 troops in the area. Sabaw Maw Village is located in Hpakant Township in KIA 2nd Brigade territory in northern Kachin State.
Burma Army Loots Civilian Home
At approximately 14:30 on 11 August, soldiers from IB 121 looted the home of Mr. U Maung and Ms. Hkam Yun, taking 1,200,000 kyat and some precious gold. The incident took place in Gawng Run Village of Mansi Township in KIA 3rd Brigade territory.
Burma Army Soldiers Force Locals to Provide Food Rations in Waingmaw Township and Take Money from Villagers in Mansi Township
Locals reported that on 30 August Burma Army troops from LIB 602, stationed at Shadan Pa airfield, forced civilian motorcycle riders to supply food rations to Burma Army troops stationed along Namsan Yang Tract, Waingmaw Township, in KIA 18th Battalion in 5th Brigade.
Burma Army Pressuring local Jade Mine Owners
Beginning on 2 September, owners of jade mining companies seeking to enter Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) controlled areas between Sangkla Checkpoint and Ginsi Checkpoint have faced delays and prolonged questioning from the Burma Army. At present, the mining company owners pay tax to both the KIO and the central government of Burma. The Burma Army seeks to monopolize the taxes and pressures the mining company owners to comply.
Burma Army Extorts Money from Cattle Owners
On 3 September 2014 Burma Army soldiers from the 416th Light Infantry Battalion stationed at Gawk Ngu Yang Village, Mansi Township, forced local cattle traders to pay an illegal tax on their cattle. It is common practice to stop cattle herders and traders if they use main roads, with the tax ranging from Ks 6,000 – Ks 10,000 per head; this forces these workers to take longer routes to avoid the Burma Army posts. At 12:00 on 4 August, Burma Army troops from IB 236 were asking for money from cattle traders traveling within Chyau Lung Gyi Village in Mansi Township in KIA 3rd Brigade territory.
Burma Army Confiscates Timber
During the day of 9 September 2014, twenty Burma Army soldiers from 47th Infantry Battalion confiscated seven hundred legally felled raw teak timbers from Manghkang Pa Lu Tat Chyawng Village, upper Man Yawt, Mansi Township. The Burma Army handed over the timber to the Burma Forest Department before returning to their base.
Burma Army Checkpoints Harass Civilians
On 11 September 2014, Burma Army troops stationed at Hawng Law Hka Post, Danai Township, and charged with checking National Identity Cards extorted money from locals and travelers. The soldiers asked for bribes and issued threats such as detainment, confiscation and destruction of a person’s belongings, forced labor, burning down the person’s house, or execution (by firing squad) if they refused to pay the bribe. Anyone without an ID card was expected to bribe the soldiers.
Villagers Protest Against Illegal Land Seizures
On 10-11 September more than 100 locals from Waingmaw, Nam Wa, Muk Chyik, and Nang Zaw Villages demonstrated at Waingmaw Township office, Myitkyina District, to protest against illegal land seizures by the Burma Government. Thus far people’s pleas for their land to be returned have been ignored.
Children In Need of Education
The children of 172 displaced families from Bum Masum Village who are currently taking refuge at Hpang Hka Kung Village in Bhamo Township are reported to lack the infrastructural support for primary school education. The families’ displacement is due to local conflict scares and they are currently provided with refuge by Hpang Hka Kung Village locals.
As of today, fighting continues in the region – particularly in northern Shan State.
God bless you,
Free Burma Rangers