Civilians continue to flee their homes in Northern Shan State following the start of major military operations against Kachin Independence Army over the past week. Displaced civilians are in dire need of humanitarian assistance from inside Burma and outside World as they have been subject to investigation, rape, torture, extra-judicial execution and destruction of homes and communities, said a local resident.
About 300 civilians have taken refuge in KIA controlled area in Maija Yang, Howa Manping village, Mannawng village and Gat pa village in Mungpaw Township.
Most civilians fleeing war zone were accommodated by their relatives in other areas. Older persons and villagers who were afraid to get out of their villages were trapped and living under fear of being investigated, raped, and tortured. Villagers living along Burmese Army column were reportedly being forced to carry soldiers’ belongings.
Loikang villagers said they were stopped and interrogated by Burmese Army soldiers while fleeing to safer places. Mr. Dawshi Gam Maw’s wife, a resident of Loikang village told KLN that Maran La De (age 19), son of deacon Maran Tawng, was stopped by Burmese Army soldiers and his head was covered with plastic bag and beaten during interrogation. He was suffocated until he passed out, said Gam Maw’s wife.
Kachin Churches across Kachinland have opened refugees center to accommodate civilians fleeing war zone. Relief Action Network for IDP and Refugee (RANIR), an organization helping refugees fleeing war zone, reported in its journal that the number of refugees reached to 21,298 on Sept 18, 2011 in Laiza area alone. It is estimated that more than 40,000 refugees have been displaced since the start of war in June 9, 2011 while Burmese government figure says about 5000. Kachin Baptist Convention’s relief committee reported that there are about 16,000 refugees in Myitkyina and Waingmaw areas.