FBR REPORT: Burma Army Burns Karenni Village
Karenni State, Burma
16 January, 2006

A Karenni boy stands in the ashes of his village, Gee Gaw Ber

A family returns to their home on January 14th, 2006

A ruined home in burnt down by Burma Army troops

These photos were taken by a relief team in Gee Gaw Ber Village on 14 January 2006. We are providing medical and other humanitarian assistance after the Burma army attacked and burned 25 homes here, three weeks ago on 23 December 2005.

The Burma Army battalion, LIB 428, that attacked this village, told villagers they will return to attack this village again. The villagers have now returned to their home villages including the village that was burned (Gee Gaw Ber). They keep their belongings packed and are ready to flee as they believe the Burma Army will come again.

The relief team is staying in this area with the people.

Specific Context

The Burma Army burnt villages, and displaced over 1,200 people in attacks against villages and IDP hide sites in Southern Karenni State.

On Dec. 23, 2005, troops from Burma Army battalions 421, 426, 428, and 424 continued their attacks against Karenni villagers in Southern Karenni State. Burma Army soldiers from battalions 426 and 428 burned down 26 houses in Gee Gaw Ber Village, forcing all 610 residents of the village into hiding. In this area there are also 341 villagers from the nearby village of Toe Ka Htoo who fled in fear of further Burma Army attacks. 255 people from Pah Poe (Papo) Village, which was attacked on Dec. 17 are also in hiding. The total number of new Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the area is 1,206. The 1,206 now in hiding are with out shelter and the temperatures in this area are very low. The people are hiding at elevations between 3,500-6,500 feet and the freezing level is at 4,000-5,00 feet.

Wider Context

The people of this area of Southern Karenni State have been under constant attack since December 2002 when over 2,000 Karenni and 3,000 Karen were attacked by 10 battalions of the Burma Army. (The Karen were from villages near the Karenni border who were also attacked by the Burma Army).

Since the winter 2002 offensive against villagers and IDPS, the Burma Army has annually pressed its attacks against civilians in this area. The attacks occurring now are focused on IDP populations who had returned to their homes from hiding after the earlier attacks. The stated purpose of the Burma Army in this area to clear all villagers out of the Karenni-Karen border areas and force them into relocation areas under Burma Army control.

In late November 2005 the Burma Army began the current operation in this area of Southern Karenni State with attacks against villages and IDP hide sites. They also launched attacks against villages and IDP sites to the west across the border in Toungoo District, Karen State.

From 26-30 November they attacked and burned down the Karen village of Hee Daw Kaw and conducted a sweep against other villages resulting in over 2,000 IDPs. (1,700 of these Karen people have since been able to return home but the 300 people of Hee Daw Kaw Village are without homes and still in hiding.

Thank you and God bless you, FBR