Mon 3 Aug 2009
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Following a series of attacks staged by the anti-Naypyitaw Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ that had inflicted heavy casualties on junta patrols roving the countryside, the Burma Army is launching a major retaliation campaign against the populace, according to reports coming to Thailand.
Several villages have been burned down, their occupants forcibly relocated and some beaten and detained by units under the command of Mongnawng – based Military Operations Command #2 since 27 July. So far, units involved in the latest “4 cuts” drive (cutting food, funds, intelligence and recruits to the armed resistance by local populace) include at least the following infantry battalions (IBs) and light infantry battalions (LIBs):
â€¢ IB 9 Loilem
â€¢ IB 12 Loilem
â€¢ IB 64 Laikha
â€¢ IB 248 Mongnai
â€¢ LIB 515 Laikha
Villages affected include:
â€¢ Hokhai Lahu Mongkeung township
â€¢ Tard Mawk Shan Laikha township
â€¢ Holom Shan Laikha township
â€¢ Kunhoong Shan Laikha township
â€¢ Mongyai Shan Laikha township
â€¢ Nawngtao Lahu Kehsi township
â€¢ Mongleum Lahu Kehsi township
â€¢ Zizaw Shan Kehsi township
â€¢ Pakang Shan Kehsi township
The Lahu villages were relocated from northern Shan State to the south following a 3-year massive 4 cuts campaign (1996-98) that destroyed 1,500 villages and displaced more than 300,000 people.
“The officer that came to our village was polite and did not look happy,” a woman that fled with her family to Laikha was quoted as saying. “He told us that he had been ordered to burn the village. ‘As a soldier, I cannot disobey. If you have anything you want to take with you, please collect them and leave.’”
For most other villages, they had not time to take much. “The soldiers came in, drove us out of our houses and started burning after spraying them with liquid fuel that smelled like kerosene.”
At least 200 houses were razed to the ground in Tardmawk, Holom and Kunhoong alone.
Long Ti, Tard Mawk tract headman was reportedly beaten while under interrogation and taken to Laikha.
“This is what we call am pay maw, paw kark (You can’t do anything to the pot, so you smash the cooking spoon) behavior,” a survivor said. “Why do they treat us like this if they want our support?”
The SSA South had launched attacks against isolated outposts and patrols beginning 21 May, the 51st anniversary of the Shan resistance. During the last engagement on 15 July, the Burma Army’s LIB 515 suffered 11 killed, 1 captured and 5 assorted weapons loss.
Latest report 1/8/09 21:00
Burma Army “Burning” columns withdrew following a visit to Laikha by a senior officer from the regional command today, according to the SSA South. “Some 400 families have lost their houses,” said Col Yawdserk, SSA leader. “This is a case for the Asean human rights body.”