Attacks Continue: Year-to-Date Situation Update

12 November 2014
Northern Shan State and Kachin State, Burma

Dear Friends,

Thanks for what you do for the people of Burma and others around the world. We are grateful for the good changes we see in Burma and for new relationships, especially with our friend U Aung Min. However attacks by the Burma Army still continue on a large scale in some areas of Burma and the letter below outlines these. We hope that, as the U.S. Government engages more with the government of Myanmar, a defense of human rights and self-determination will occur, along with a proportionate engagement with the ethnic peoples – relationally, diplomatically and materially.

God bless you,

Dave, family and all of FBR

Summary Statistics for Burma Army Activity in the Area for 2014

**Note: these numbers are from reports from FBR team members and do not represent the totality of military activity in Kachin and northern Shan State.

Clashes: 168 (fighting between Burma Army and ethnic forces)

Burma Army Casualties:  193

Ethnic Casualties:  52

Civilian Casualties: 20

Burma Army Troop Movement: 19,742 troops moved

Burma Army Truck Movement:  1041 trucks moved

Horses: 334

Kidnap, Torture and Rape of Civilians:  27 People – The Burma Army has kidnapped 27 people of which two girls (aged 17 and 15) were raped, two girls (teenagers) escaped, and 23 adults were tortured.  The status of the 23 adults is unknown. 

Burma Army targeting Villages/IDP Camps: 7 Accounts – The Burma Army planted landmines around an IDP camp, fired a 25mm mortar into an IDP camp,fired an 81mm mortar into villages on five occasions, and fired small arms into a village. 

Burma Army Extortion/Theft from Civilians:  12 Accounts -The Burma Army has extorted civilians for money on eight accounts and robbed civilians on four accounts.

Detainment of Civilians:  362 People – The Burma Army detained 280 civilians for digging jade, arrested 52 civilians suspecting connections with local ethnic forces, and conscripted 30 civilians into the Burma Army militia as informants against ethnic forces.  The conscripted civilians were forced to participate in the Burma Army training.

Internally Displaced People:  100,000+ People – Of the 100,000 IDPs in Kachin and northern Shan State, almost 17,000 are newly displaced in 2014.

Air Surveillance and Supply: 23 Accounts – The Burma Army utilized 10 helicopters and fighter aircraft to conduct surveillance of ethnic forces and used 13 aircraft for resupply of Burma Army troops.

Current Conflict Zones in Burma

Clashes continue despite ceasefire agreements in Burma.

Reports of clashes between Burma Army and ethnic resistance groups continue despite ongoing peace talks. There have been 168 clashes between ethnic groups and the Burma Army since January 2014. There is on-going human rights abuse including reports of extortion, theft, targeting civilians, rape, and torture. The Burma Army utilizes aircraft for reconnaissance and resupply of the approximately 20,000 troops it has moved throughout northern Burma this year.  Of the 100,000 internally displaced people in Kachin State and northern Shan State, approximately 17,000 are newly displaced and have been subjected to arbitrary targeting with artillery from the Burma Army.  

Mentally disabled villager tortured and killed by Burma Army.

On January 2nd 2014 a deaf-mute villager was captured in Nam Lim Pa, Kachin State by the Burma Army and cut six times with a knife or axe and then killed. Other bodies have been found which show knife wounds, axe wounds, burns, and other signs of torture. The bodies had also been shot or partially burned. 

Burma Army rapes 17-year-old girl and continues to plant landmines.

There are still widespread reports of landmines, illegal arrests, and rape happening in Kachin State. On 10 April 2014, two Burma Army soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 320 raped a 17-year-old girl. A few days later on 14 April 2014, a 45-year-old civilian named Mr. Mwihpu La Maw, from Mungding Pa was, was killed due to a landmine explosion near Tan Tada, Mansi Township. The Burma Army is continuing to plant landmines despite ongoing peace talks. 

Large attack on village from Burma Army sends IDPs fleeing

More than 1,800 people fled on 10 April 2014 when the Burma Army launched infantry attacks and mortar fire against Kachin Independence Army (KIA) positions in the LaGat Yang and Man Win areas along the Kachin-Shan border. The attacks lasted for 10 hours from 4 different Burma Army units, upwards of 1000 troops.  

Burma Army controls opium production with help of ethnic Chinese-led militia

The Burma Army is maintaining control over opium and narcotic production in Burma, supplying and supporting the People’s Militia Force (PMF) to oversee the production and growth of opium. The PMF is an ethnic Chinese militia overseen by Kyaw Myint, an ethnic Chinese who has citizenship in Burma and is a member of parliament.There are currently thousands of hectares of opium being farmed. Local ethnic military groups have all agreed to destroy any opium crops or narcotics operations they come across.        

Reports from Karen State in eastern Burma

Burma Army attacks in Karen State, despite Ceasefire Agreement

On 27 September Burma Army LIB 361 entered the Kge  Der farming area and opened fire on Karen National Defense Organization (KNDO) Battalion 3 soldiers, killing one and wounding another.  IDPs from the area express their fear for survival, and surprise at the ceasefire violation.  Within the area of the attack are 25 Burma Army infantry battalions that regularly operate.

Burma Army occupies and confiscates land from Karen villagers.

Reports from the Karen Human Rights Group have shown ongoing militarization in Karen State. There are reports of land being confiscated from villagers and taxes being exacted for no reason. Villagers report continued abuse and killings happening from Burma Army soldiers. Villagers in the Hlaingbwe Township have said the ceasefire isn’t real, the Burma Army is just preparing itself for further fighting, and villagers are fearful.

**This report does not reflect the totality of human rights abuses that have taken place in Burma this year; the examples here serve to highlight some Burma Army human rights abuses. More information can be found on all of these reports at Free Burma Rangers’ websitePlease find additional photos and maps below.

Map of conflict zones in Northern Shan State and Kachin State.
Body of one of the villagers tortured to death by Burma Army in Nam Lim Pa Village, Kachin State.
Kachin woman forced by Burma Army attacks to flee her home.
Saw Poe Law, former ranger and current Karen National Defense Organization soldier, shot and killed by the Burma Army in Karen State, 27 September 2014