FBR REPORT: BURMA ARMY LAUNCHES ATTACKS ACROSS KACHIN STATE29 April, 2016 Kachin State, Burma
The Burma Army is currently launching small scale attacks across different areas of Kachin and Shan states. They have killed and wounded several villagers, including wounding a 7-year-old girl and killing a 60 year-old woman, and displaced thousands in an attempt to gain total control over the region. (Please see this earlier FBR report for details on attacks in southern Kachin and northwestern Shan states.) In March, in addition to conducting attacks in southern Kachin State, the Burma Army moved in support of local narcotics militias in the Waing Maw area, attacking Kachin villagers there as well.In mid-April the Burma Army also began attacking Kachin Independence Army (KIA) positions northwest of Laiza in an attempt to push all the remaining Kachin out of the area between the China border and Myitkyina. According to the KIA, the Burma Army ’s first objective is to clear the area of the Myitkyina – Bhamo road. Attacks intensified on 17 and 18 April with the Burma Army killing two KIA soldiers, and wounding four. These attacks are part of a relentless drive by the Burma Army to crush all Kachin opposition and end the Kachin resistance.
Meanwhile people who were displaced by the initial Burma Army offensives in 2011 still remain trapped in IDP camps with little hope to go home, often living in very difficult conditions. Our teams visited and provided relief to those IDPs and the areas currently facing Burma Army aggression. The following report and photos detail those situations.
8 April 2016, 0900: Burma Army Infantry Battalion (IB) 63 attacked Kachin Independence Army Militia located at Nbu Kawng KIA post within KIA 18th Battalion-controlled area. Burma Army IB 63 initiated the attack by firing mortars followed by small arms fire. The attack began at 0900 April 8, 2016 and concluded after 1 hour. No casualties reported from either organization.
17 April, 1410: Burma Army IB 63 attacked KIA Militia stationed at Lam Hkyet leaving 1 dead and 4 injured KIA. Burma Army casualties are unknown. Simultaneously Burma Army IB 63 attacked Pau Se road between Pau Se and Ban Sau villages with mortars. 100 Burma Army soldiers came from Waing Maw to reinforce Burma Army IB 63 near Lam Hyket.
17 April, 2040: Burma Army IB 63 fired 60 mm mortars at Pau Se road near Nam San Yang Village from Burma Army-occupied Dum Bang Bum hill.
18 April: Burma Army troops from IB (276) and KIA No. 12 Battalion soldiers clashed twice near Pang Hka village in Mansi township.
19 April, 1400: A helicopter from Myitkyina flew over Ban Dawng, Sut Shang, Ban Sau and Hkoi Ma Bum in Na San Yang sub-township, KIA No. 18 Battalion area.
21 April, 0530-0800: An estimated 100 Burma Army troops from LIB (417) under LID (99) accidentally detonated two landmines as they advanced towards KIA position (MG 400 658) between Bang Satai village and Nawng Jang village (held by KIA No. 38 Battalion under No. 6 Brigade, Nothern Shan State). The KIA defended their position by remotely detonating 9 controlled mines, leaving many Burma Army soldiers killed and/or wounded.<
22 April, 1325: KIA soldiers from No. 255 Mobile Battalion defended against an unknown Burma Army unit from Ban Sau. A controlled mine detonated in the area in between Seng Mai and Galang Ja village.
22 April, 1745: A clash between the KIA and the Burma Army erupted at Kawa Yang, near Seng Mai. A combined force 100 soldiers of Red Shan (a subdivision of the Shan ethnic group and an allied militia of the Burma Army) and an unknown Burma Army unit accidentally detonated a landmine planted by the KIA. Casualties unknown.
24 April, 1330: Fighting erupted when an estimated 30 Burma Army soldiers and14 supply horses from LIB (382) moved from Gang Dau Base to Lakhra Yang. While en-route they raided Lawt Awng Post, a KIA Militia outpost (KIA No. 255 Mobile Battalion) seated at the intersection of the Mali Hka and Nmwi Hka rivers. At 1420, Burma Army troops seized the Lawt Awng Post.
In April members of an FBR relief team went to Suden IDP camp in northeastern Kachin State to give some help and encouragement to IDPs there. During this mission the team members were able to help the IDPs by supporting a new church and distributing school supplies and other relief materials. The following portions of the report are written from the perspective of the relief team.
During our time in the IDP camp we shared the gospel of Jesus and how He came to forgive our sins, destroy the works of the devil, help us to live together and give us a new start. We also prayed that by His power the Burma Army would change their attitude and leave so people could go home again. Or if not, that they would be pushed back. I also prayed for overall change in Burma – for freedom, ability to return home, justice and reconciliation. We then distributed school materials, raincoats and toothbrushes and toothpaste for the children here. We also gave shirts, Day of Prayer materials and other supplies to the teachers. Then we walked as a group up to the new church and prayed together, for it, all the people here and for all of Burma. Afterwards we visited the local leaders and Kachin soldiers who provide security while our team medic treated patients. Later we met the local pastor whose story is detailed below.
Speaking to the Local Pastor:
The pastor is Baw La Hpau Re, age 27, single, from Lashio, Shan State. He attended Bible School in Kutkai, in northern Shan State, Burma (Myanmar), and studied to be a pastor.
Baw La became a believer at age 15 and was baptized. He said, “I love Jesus and want to follow Him. I decided to be a pastor because as I read Matthew 6:33 in the Bible, I was inspired to be a pastor.” I told him the story of my father who as an oilman, read the same verse and felt called to serve God as a missionary.
“It is a dangerous verse,” I said.
“Yes, very dangerous!” Baw La said as he laughed. He has been a pastor for three years and he has been up in Suden for an additional three years as the pastor to the IDPs in Suden camp. “The Kachin Baptist Convention sent me to help here. I feel God sent me here,” he explained.
Needs of the IDPs
The IDPs here need educational help, support of teachers, school supplies, school books, with boards and markers, clothes for students, and volunteers to raise the local standard of education. They also need help for better sanitation, better homes to live in, more medicine and agricultural help. Although the IDPs do get a ration of rice, salt, oil and washing soap from Kachin churches, NGOs and Chinese Christians, since it is hard to make thing grow up here food is also a desperate need.
Personal Prayer Requests
My personal prayer requests are: “The people here feel hopeless and some have drifted in their faith. They feel abandoned and some do not want to follow God. I need prayer for them to be close to God. I need the right words and the power of God to inspire, strengthen and renew the people’s faith. There are 155 families here and 671 people total. Please pray for us. Thank you for the gifts you have given for the the new church here. The IDPS lost their old church when the Burma army attack them and they all had to flee their village. We are thankful and you help us build this church. We were not able to finish the church and then your funds arrived. This helps us finish the church building. I thank all you for your help in such a difficult time. We are on high mountain in this IDP site and it is cold, with heavy rain, hail and high winds. In the winter it snows. The new church is a good building, shelter and place to worship. We have also had earthquake here and so we built this church on a deep foundation. It has already survived an earthquake. This church helps us to worship God, keep dry and stay warm.
We thank you. We thank God. We ask for God’s blessing on all the donors. You have come here to help us and even from far away you come, people of different races and languages. Thank you for helping us. It is because of God that you came here.
We are one in God, thank you.”