Karen and Karenni Update
January 11, 2004

(Note: as of January 20th, the number of new IDPs had grown to 3,500. Please see the associated press release. Also, this exhibit includes three new photos.)

There are now over 1,000 Karenni IDPs and 1,000 Karen IDPs on the Karen-Karenni border, just inside northern Muthraw district, Karen State. This is due to ongoing attacks by the Burma Army.

The Burma Army is concentrating on clearing all Karenni refugees out of southern Karenni State and is burning rice barns, chasing civilians out of their villages, and laying landmines around the abandoned villages. The Burma Army has crossed over to the Karen State side of the border and chased the villagers of Ka Lae Lo, Lay Wa, Say Ba Ti and Marmee from their villages. They burned down 2 rice barns at Ka Lae Lo village and planted a landmine on the main trail out of Ka Lae Lo about 500 meters from the village. On January 7 at 11.45 (Burma Time), a 17-year-old boy stepped on a landmine (Burma Army mine MM2 or the same type Chinese manufacture), outside of Ka Lae Lo village and lost his leg from the knee down. A FBR team who was nearby interviewing the villagers whose rice barns were burned along with another KNU medic responded and applied first aid. An emergency amputation was conducted and the boy was stabilized and then carried for four days to a mobile clinic. He is alive and is recovering. On Jan 8, the same FBR team witnessed the Burma Army burn down a villagers rice barn (Yu Hae Daw Ko village farm), across the river in Karenni State. Karenni villagers fleeing the attacks reported that three persons had died of starvation inside Karenni State and that many more were trapped in the jungle north of the Mawchi-Toungoo road. An unknown number of Karenni IDPs have fled to Toungoo District of the Karen state. On 26 December 2003, the Burma Army ordered all Karenni villagers north and south of the Mawchi road to relocate to Mahntahlayn near Pasaung (on the west bank of the Salween river), or be shot on site. On 29 December the Burma army began to force these villagers out of their villages. The largest concentration of IDPs who have fled these attacks are in the northern Muthraw district, where 995 Karenni IDPs and 678 Karen IDPs are in hiding together. Rice is running out and although there is a relief team providing emergency medical assistance, medicine will run out in two weeks if there is no resupply. Karenni have reported that the Burma Army is building a new road from Mawchi south east to Htee Lay Kee in #1 township of District 2 to serve the new Wolfram mine there. The Burma Army has forced the villagers of #2 and # 3 townships of District 2 to relocate along the Mawchi-Toungoo road and to porter for the Burma Army as well as to build a new army camp one mile west of Mawchi at Kaw Ku. This started on December 10, 2003. Also starting on this same date, 80 Karenni women and 40 Karenni men have been forced to carry supplies for the Burma Army from Mawchi to the Karen-Karenni border. The Karenni also report that the Burma Army has brought 1,000 new soldiers up from the Kaukkyi area (Naunglybin District, Karen state), to reinforce these operations. The Karenni say the Burma Army is taking advantage of the Karen unofficial ceasefire to concentrate their forces against the Karenni.

IDPs hiding. Karen and Karenni IDPs recently forced into hiding in the Northern Karen State by the Burma Army gather in a ravine for medical treatment and relief administered by a Free Burma Ranger team.

Distributing FBR Good Life Club packs (for the children, to demonstrate that there is such a thing as a "good life," and that there are people who want to help them have one).

A baby's introduction to life, courtesy of the SPDC.

Treating IDPs. A relief team medic treats one of the over 3.500 IDPs now (as of January 20th) in hiding near the Karen-Karenni border.

Landmine victim. A 17-year-old Karen village boy stepped on a landmine planted by the Burma Army on a trail near a Northern Karen State village at 11.45am. An FBR team treating IDPs in the area was able to go to the scene and save the boy's life. His right leg was blown off under the knee and his left arm sustained severe damage He has been transported by foot to the nearest clinic where he will receive further treatment. Please pray for this young man's life.

The victim following his initial treatment.