Burma Army Shoots Villagers, Killing 70-year-old Woman and Wounding 7-year-old Girl and Others, While Raiding Villages on Shan-Kachin State border, North Burma
April 9 2016 Pang Hka, Kachin State, Myanmar
On 30 March 2016, Burma Army soldiers attacked Pang Hka Village. The villagers fled in all directions and Ma Kaw, a 70-year-old woman, was shot in the stomach as she tried to escape. She was carried out of the village by other villagers, but died on her way to a nearby clinic and was buried close to the Shweli River. A 7-year-old girl was also shot, getting hit in the arm, before she could get away; and one man, aged 32, was badly injured by Burma Army M-79 shrapnel in his left hand, upper left thigh, and groin area. The families have fled from these villages and some are missing family members and are uncertain if they’ve survived or not.
These recent attacks began on 16 March and continue to the present, with the Burma Army attacking Kachin and Ta’ang villages along the border of Kachin and Shan states, near Pang Hka west of the Shweli River.
The ongoing aggression comes only a month after the new civilian National League for Democracy government took formal control of the government of Burma/Myanmar. The report below details some of the ongoing actions conducted by the Burma Army near the village of Pang Hka. It is our hope that this information will shed a light on the ongoing military activities, and prompt action in the new government of Burma and the governments which support it.
HISTORY OF BURMA ARMY IN PANG HKA
The Burma Army came to Pang Hka village 3 times since 2011. The most recent of which prior to March, 2016, was in November of 2011. Burma Army troops entered the village and opened fire on the houses, causing all the villagers to run to the other side of the Shweli River. The Burma Army soldiers killed and ate the leftover pigs, cows, and buffalos and then burned down four of the houses in the village before leaving.
ATTACKS ON VILLAGES
March 30, 2016
Pang Hka Village came under attack by the Burma Army on 30 March 2016 at about 14:30. A column of Burma Army troops from Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) 276 and 237 (about 100 soldiers) entered the village, in Man Se Township, Kachin State and opened fire on houses. All the villagers in the village ran away in several directions. Ma Kaw, a 70 years old woman, was shot in the stomach during the attack as detailed above. One girl, 7 year sold and one man, aged 32, were also shot and injured. The man was badly injured by Burma Army M-79 shrapnel in his left hand, upper left thigh, and groin area. He kept running even with his injuries. He was from a nearby village across the Shweli River but came to Pang Hka Village to help his uncle with the his farm. He eventually escaped to a nearby village and is now recovering. 13 villagers, eight adults and five children, fled in the same direction as him and also made it safely to a nearby village. There are five different families in this group, four of which are missing family members. They said they were separated during the shooting. The first family is missing the father. The second family is missing one son and the husband and two nephews. The third family is missing their 100-year old mother. And the fourth family is missing a husband, a son who is mute, and one daughter (the mother of the mute boy is very worried for him as he is unable to function without her). They all said they do not know where their missing family members are.
March 16, 2016
On the afternoon of March 16, 2016, Burma Army troops from LIBs 276 and 237 (about 100 soldiers) entered Pang Hka village and ordered all the villagers to come out of the houses and sit down on the ground. Those who were slow in getting out of their houses were beaten, punched and kicked by the Burma Army troops. The soldiers stole five hundred thousand and thirty thousand (530,000) Kyat from one villager. She had saved that money by selling paddy rice, yams, and vegetables so that she could pay for the release of her daughter who is in prison. The troops also ate and drank coffee at another villager’s shop but didn’t pay for what they used; costing the shop owner 30,000 Kyat. The troops stayed in the village for three days. During their stay they dug trenches around the village. Some troops also did not pay what they promised for the rice they took. Though some soldiers eventually did pay for the rice husks, it was not reasonable compared to the average price. The villagers also had to get permission from the troops when they needed to fetch water. Every 2-3 villagers who were getting water were followed by twenty troops. The Burma Army soldiers left Pang Hka village on March 19, 2016.
OTHER BURMA ARMY ATTACKS:
1 April 2016: At 15:20 Burma Army IBs 437, 88, and 15 attacked the Kachin Independence Army (KIA – Kachin pro-democracy army) 12th battalion troops at Nam Ke Zup (Shweli River crossing). This attack lasted 20 minutes. The Burma Army troops withdrew a little and later that evening attacked the Kachin again. After these two clashes the Burma Army troops withdrew from the area towards Nam Phang Village. While en-route and looking for water, the soldiers triggered a landmine. There were two injuries: one Burma Army soldier, and one Burmese villager from Je O who was guiding for the troops.
FBR has relief teams in the area giving medical and humanitarian assistance and continues to monitor the active situation in Pang Hka Village. The teams gave food to the 30 the IDPS they found from Pang Hka: rice for one month, Mama noodles, eggs, oil, salt and peanuts. The teams also prayed with the IDPs and took down their testimony on the attacks.- reports below-
Other members of the local FBR Team members went to Man Gao meet the IDPS and interviewed them on the situation of their home village and the reasons why they ran. The medics on the team performed a medical clinic as some of the older people were not well due to the flight from their homes. Other villagers were in pain due to beatings by the Burma Army, and were also given treatment. The teams provided money to help the wounded villagers as well.
As the team was giving out food to the IDP’s one man by the name of Ai spoke up and said: “Thank you for giving this is to us. When we left the village we had nothing just what we had on us. I believe God arranged this food and everything you have helped us with. We will need more food and help later. Now in our village there is nothing left for food. Please tell the world what happened and that we need more help here. Shan, Kachin, and Taaung, we are all the same. Past generations have worked for freedom and now it is our turn to do this.”
Interview with the Mother of Child Who Was Shot During Attack on March 30th Attack on Pang Hka village
Father’s name – Ai 28 years old.
Mothers name – E Hkam, 27 years old
7 year old child girl that was injured- Eh Hkam Moe
Family has 4 family members total.
Work: Both adults were rice farmers
When the shooting started the mother grabbed her children and pulled them to the ground. As she was getting up one of her children, 7 year old Eh Kham Moe, was shot in the arm by the Burma Army troops. The child was shocked when she was hit by the bullet. They fled and later when they were safe the mother told her to sleep. But the child did not sleep because she was afraid and the wounds hurt even more at night.
The family had just cooked a meal when Kachin Independence Army (KIA) solders came into the village. She told the KIA soldiers to join and eat with them. As they were eating the Burma Army attacked. Some of the villagers and KIA soldiers fled, but did not take their guns or backpacks. The Burma Army took the guns and confiscated all the rice in the village and proceeded to eat it. She said “We do not have anything (food) in the house. We could not take anything and fled empty-handed. Some villagers fled to KIA camps, some fled to this (Taaung) side of the river. No one is left in the village now.”
While Burma Army troops were in the village the villagers were not allowed to go anywhere alone. The Burma Army followed them even when going to carry water. “After the Burma Army left the village, we fled and hid in the jungle. We did not dare to stay in the village any longer. We were afraid of Burma Army troops coming to stay again in the village. We spent two days in the jungle, without any blankets or food. It even rained. We did not want to stay in the jungle anymore and we came to this (Tun Hon) village. When we arrived at the river we made a raft and crossed the river. We arrived yesterday (April 6 2016). We walked by foot the whole way. We are a bit happy when we arrived at the Tun Hon village.” She now stays in her mother’s house in the Tun Hon village. Her father is still on the other side of the river to check on their cows and to take some clothes. He might go to that side (Mangau village) or this side Tun Hon village she doesn’t know. Since fighting has started we have moved several times. We have lived in Pang Hka for three years. 10 families moved to stay there. As we lived for two or three years , the fighting broke out again and we had to flee again. Several of us here including one old man fled to this village. One man from her family fled to Koh hok village, they have not met yet. We left only three oxen in the village.
She reported that some might stay in the new village, but only they are able to make a living making charcoal in the nearby forests. If they cannot though, she is unsure if they will continue living there. As to her, she said: “We will stay here.”
Interview with a Villager Who Fled from Pang Hka village
Date: April 2, 2016
Name – Ahm (pronounced “Arm”)
Hometown: Dah Pon village, Nam Kham township
Education: Grade Four Standard
Work: She ran a shop for a few years, however now she and her husband are rice farmers.
She is 29 years old and living in Pang Hka village. She and her husband have one son and three daughters the oldest is studying in another village. As a mother of four, she fears what might happen to her children in this environment where there is often fighting close by.
Ahm fled her village on 30th March 2016 because the Burma Army attacked the KIA soldiers that were passing through their village. She didn’t know what happened but just after they finished lunch she heard the gunfire in the village. She had her one year old child on her back and her husband was chopping bamboo close by. She didn’t know where her other children were, but the fighting was close- so she just ran. Her second oldest daughter they met as they were running to the next village. They had no time to gather anything from their house and what she is wearing now is all she has. She misses her home and community. The Kachin villagers here are nice and help us but we can’t communicate because of the language barrier. She remembers having two fears when the fighting started. 1) Losing one of her children 2) Of being hurt from the gunfire.
Ahm’s father was downstairs in the house when all this happened and she hasn’t seen him since. She is thankful to be safe but is worried about him and wants to see him again.
She is now living in someone else’s house and borrowing everything. “I just want to go to my home”
Interview with a Porter for the Burma Army
Name – Aung Aung
Age – 36
Ethnicity – Shan/Burmese
Hometown – Si U village Man Si Township, Bamaw District
Aung Aung was in his house when Oo Tun Kyi (a guide for the Burma Army) and one Burma Army officer came to his house. They told him he needed to come to carry loads for the Burma Army of Infantry Battalion 15. He told them he was sick and couldn’t do it. The officer told him “you can go easily, or if you still can not go then I will tie you and make you go”.
Along with him were two other men. He had to carry food for the troops. He said that the troops rounded up a man as they were moving to be a porter. They left Si U village on April 24th, 2016. They walked for two hours towards two truck that was waiting for them. He said that they were given food. The troops were carrying a variety of weapons including four machine guns. He had to carry mortar rounds weighing over 30kg. He was not allowed to take a break when he was tired. The porters only had a chance to take a break when they soldiers gave them permission.
He ran from the Burma Army on 31 March 2016. The column came close to a road and were unsure the way, their guide was afraid to go look around so he put down his pack and told the Burma Army officer he would check the road for them. He then ran and met some KIA soldiers on the way who took him to Nam Ke Zup. He was able to tell the KIA soldiers about the Burma Army troops, allowing them to prepare for the upcoming fight.
He wants to go back to his village but he is afraid. He is worried about his wife and son in the village. When he left they only had 20,000 Kyat and so he doesn’t know how they will survive without him. Another porter fled from the Burma Army after their fight with the KIA on 1st April. He fled to Nam Ke Zup as well and told him that all the porters had fled and only the guide was left with the Burma Army. Aung Aung is currently checking the situation at home to see if it’s safe to go back or not.