ICC NOTE: Unidentified individuals abducted 50 men from four villages in Myanmar’s Shan state. The action is not common for the region as raids, abductions, and rape occur on a shameful level. Armed rebels of the Shan state were one of several who did not agree to the ceasefire from the previous military control government. As a result the military has waged new air and ground strikes on the rebel states including Kachin state which is predominately Christian. The atrocities committed by the military have gone largely unheard of as the election and hope for democracy have overshadowed continued human rights violations. Historically this is nothing new for Burma as the ethnic Christian minority Karen were systematically targeted for extermination. Many fled to the United States but the bloodshed continues for the war torn region.
12/2/2015 Myanmar (Radio Free Asia) – Unidentified gunmen have abducted 50 men from four villages in Myanmar located outside of Shan state’s largest township of Lashio, residents said Monday, amid concerns by rights groups over “war crimes” committed by government troops in the region.
A woman from Kaungkha—one of the villages targeted—told RFA’s Myanmar Service that residents had fled in terror during the Nov. 26 raid and were unable to determine the identities of the gunmen in the chaos.
“They abducted people from our village—one of them has a wife who is the mother of two children and another has a pregnant wife with three kids,” the woman said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“The last one is a young man with two sons. We don’t know where [the men who were taken] are now.”
Kaungkha was among four villages attacked along the road leading to Namtu, a township located 52 kilometers (32 miles) northwest of Lashio. The road between the two townships has seen frequent clashes between Myanmar’s military and the ethnic Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) in recent weeks.
Other residents said they had compiled a list of around 50 people who had been abducted by the gunmen in the Nov. 26 raids, including some 30 men who were taken from the village of Ei-Naing.
They said that frequent raids in the area had led many villagers to abandon their homes to seek refuge in town centers such as Lashio in recent weeks, though they did not specify who was responsible for the attacks.
The SSA-N, which is the armed wing of the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), was one of several armed ethnic groups that refused to enter into a so-called “nationwide cease-fire agreement” (NCA) that the government signed with eight rebel armies on Oct. 15.
Fighting resumed between the army and the SSA-N on Oct. 6, forcing an estimated 10,000 people to flee their homes in the central part of Shan state. The two sides had a cease-fire agreement in place from January 2012, but both have blamed each other for the outbreak of new fighting.
On the same day as the abductions in Shan state, a group of ethnic Shan civil society organizations meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, called on the international community to “break its silence on the war crimes” being committed by Myanmar government troops in central Shan state.
A statement issued by the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) said that since October, the military had “launched repeated air and ground missile attacks on densely populated civilian areas,” including from Nov. 9-12, when “fighter aircraft and artillery rained bombs on 6,000 civilians” in Mong Nawng township, as well as in Monghsu township, where more than “1,500 displaced villagers were sheltering.”
The attacks, and “abuses including shooting and rape of villagers,” have displaced more than 10,000 people from Ke See, Monghsu and Mong Nawng townships, it said, adding that there “has been little sign of aid from international agencies” in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon.
“Keeping silent about Naypyidaw’s latest attacks and war crimes is giving the green light to these atrocities,” human rights activist Nang Charm Tong said in the statement, which urged the international community to make any further engagement with the government contingent on an end to offensives in ethnic areas.