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10/05/11 Burma (CSW) – Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is deeply concerned by reports of a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Kachin State, Burma. Information received by CSW from Kachin sources indicate an escalation in the Burma Army’s offensive against Kachin civilians, at a time when the regime in Burma is talking about peace and national reconciliation. Over 20,000 Kachin civilians have been displaced as a result.
In the past two months, the Burma Army has repeatedly attacked Kachin villages. Civilians have been taken for forced labor, raped, tortured and killed. At the same time, Burma’s new President, Thein Sein, has met democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, called for peace talks with ethnic nationalities, and responded to popular opinion by suspending plans for a major dam project at Myitsone, Kachin State, and worth over £2 billion.
On 20 August, Burma Army soldiers stationed in Je-U village, Man Si Township fired mortars at Nam Gau village. The village school teacher’s house was hit by a mortar shell, while the teacher, Mai Awng, was tutoring students inside. A six year-old child, Hpaula Htu, was killed and four people injured, including the teacher, her seven year-old daughter and two children, aged seven and six.
On 16 September, soldiers from Light Infantry Unit 387 arrested 12 Kachin villagers aged between 14 and 70, from Namhpathka village, Momauk Township, ten miles from a hydropower project at Taping. The villagers, accused of supporting the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), were tied with ropes, detained at the army base and severely tortured, before being released on 19 September.
On 21 September, Mr Tam Gam and his wife Roi Lam Ja Ngai, both aged 24, were seriously injured by landmines on a Roman Catholic prayer mountain near Jahtuzup, Phakant Township, while they were gathering bamboo. Rou Lam Ja Ngai’s right leg was blown off below the knees and her left leg was seriously injured. Her husband was injured in his face and chin.
These reports have been confirmed by the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), along with reports of increasing battles between soldiers of the Burma Army and the KIA. In June, the regime launched a new offensive against the Kachin, ending a 17-year ceasefire. According to the Kachin Relief Action Network for IDPs and Refugees (RANIR), at least 21,298 villagers have been displaced by the new conflict.

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