Kachin displaced by conflict - Estimates put the total number ow at more than 100,000 displaced (Photo: Phil Thornton)

Burma Army Offensive Displaces Thousands, Amidst Reports of Rape and Shooting of Civilians

Reports of rape and the murder of two civilians have emerged following a Burma Army offensive in parts of Kachin State and Shan State, that has also led to more than three thousand civilians displaced in the attacks.

The frontline humanitarian organisation, Free Burma Rangers, allege that on April 10, Burma Army soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) raped a 17 year-old girl in fields behind Nhkum Zau Tawng village.

On April 10, the Burma Army is accused of firing 60mm mortars into Lagat Yang IDP Camp and a nearby village – FBR said that more than 20 shells were fired.

FBR reports that Burma Army soldiers from LIB 69 shot two civilians from Maw Swi Lawt village. The two men, aged 30 and 58, were shot as they entered their village. FBR said that they had been seriously injured and were to Namhkam hospital for treatment.

FBR estimated that 3,600 Kachin civilians had been displaced in the latest attacks,– although regional media has put the figure of displaced people as high as 5,000. FBR noted that 800 Shan civilians had also been displaced.

In an interview with the Irrawaddy magazine, a spokesperson for President Thein Sein’s defended the Burma Army and accused the Kachin Independence Army of failing to follow the “regulations of the ceasefire agreements,”.

“The Tatmadaw [Burma Army] only fights to defend itself, and they have been instructed not to attack first,” the Presidential spokesperson said.

More than 100,000 people have been displaced since the conflict erupted in June 2011 when the Burma Army launched an offensive. Fighting continues on a daily basis.

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