HUMANITARIAN RELIEF MISSION
KARENNI STATE - NOVEMBER 2004
26 November 2004
The Burma Army is continuing its attacks on villagers and IDPs (internally displaced persons) in Karenni State.
Saw Moo Eh, 20 years old, an IDP, stepped on a Burma Army landmine in July 2004 in the vicinity of Plo Htee village
IDP child in Karenni State, Burma
IDP woman treated by Karenni FBR relief team in Du Wah Hta Village, Karenni State, Burma
The Burma Army is attacking IDP sites, killing civilians, burning homes and rice barns and has also increased its mine laying activities, especially in Southern Karenni State, from the Mawchi road to the Karen State border.
Over 2,000 Karenni villagers have been displaced from this area this year. The Burma Army's ten battalion offensive of January 2004 has been followed by battalion sized sweeps against IDPs that have continued throughout the year.
Two Burma Army battalions currently rotate in and out of Mawchi to the surrounding areas to find and attack IDP sites as well as to lay landmines. The two battalions now conducting these operations are: LIB 428, commanded by Win Lay Aung; and LIB134, commanded by Oo Myay Shwe.
Murder and shooting of civilians:
On 28 September 2004 the Burma Army, guided by elements of the KNSO (Karenni pro-SPDC faction) attacked Karenni IDPs in their hiding place across the Karen border in the vicinity of K'Si Kee. BA LIB 428 carried out this attack with KNSO (Karenni National Solidarity Organization) guidance.
LIB 428 and KNSO attacked the hiding place with sustained rifle and machinegun fire causing the IDPs to flee. However, at least one family was not able to flee and huddled in their hut. This family consisted of a 95 year old grandmother, her daughter, three grandchildren and one 20 year old grandson.
During the shooting the grandmother and grandson were each shot in the leg. When the Burma Army troops and KNSO assaulted the hide site they found the family in their hut with the wounded grandmother and grandson and yelled, "Go see if he is an IDP, and if he is, then kill him." The granddaughter held her three children and the soldiers fired a complete magazine of ammunition into the wounded grandson, killing him. The soldiers then left the hut. The grandmother, granddaughter and her three children followed them out of the hut and the grandmother confronted them saying, "Now that you have killed my grandson, kill all of us." The soldiers ignored her and began to burn the family's home down. They also burned down the huts of the other people who had fled at the beginning of the attack.
A relief team found this family and the other families in a new hiding place and provided medical care and some relief assistance. The team leader said, "I feel very sorry. The IDPs are doing nothing wrong, yet the Burma Army kills them. When we arrived at their new hiding place the grandmother who was shot in the leg during the attack asked me to get help for them. She said that since her grandson was killed she had no one to help find food for the family or to plant rice. I was very sad and said I would try my best. I told her that I can't help with my own strength but I can get the news out to the world and try to get others to join in and help."
The team leader went on to say, "We need to continue these FBR relief missions to this area, as the IDPs face food shortages, cold weather, and the need for medicine. For the families of the many dead IDPs, it would be good if they had some support. By March 2005 they will run out of food. The IDPs are still out in the jungle. We need people to go with backpacks full of supplies and help them."
The Burma Army has mined the area south of Mawchi to the Karen border. Old villages, IDP hide sites and suspected IDP hiding sites are targeted for the laying of landmines. The following villages and IDP hiding areas have been heavily mined making it hazardous for people to move through: K'Si Kee, Nu Thu Kee, Nu Thu Hta, Yu Hae Daw Ko, Kay Ya Kee, Saw Kwa See Der, Mo Sa Pa Der, Bay Ko Kee, Ko Sa Kee and Pwa Doe. The villages of K'Si Kee, Nu Thu Kee and Nu Thu Hta are actually in the Papun (Muthraw), District, Northern Karen State. Many Karenni IDPs have fled into Northern Karen State to escape the attacks of the Burma Army and are then followed and attacked again by pursuing Burma Army units.
Many civilians have been maimed and killed by Burma Army landmines this year. The two IDPs below are the most recent casualties.
1) 11 November 2004. Saw Po Lay Htoo, 20 years old, IDP, stepped on a Burma Army landmine at Maw Day IDP site.
2) July 2004. Saw Moo Eh, 20 years old, IDP, stepped on a Burma Army landmine in the vicinity of Plo Htee village.
Both of these IDPs were cared for by local medics, were given emergency amputations and are recovering.
The situation in the Karenni State is worsening and the people are in immediate need of relief and security.