Shan Human Rights Foundation: “Burmese government troops shell civilian area, commit other human rights abuses in Ke See township…”

The Shan Human Rights Foundation released a media statement on 22nd October alleging that the Burma Army had on committed abuses against civilians while fighting the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (a.k.a Shan State Army-North or SSA-N) over for days. The Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) statement said that “during October 12-18, 2014, the Burmese government troops continued to commit abuses against civilians during their ongoing offensive against the in Ke See Township, central Shan State.”

The SHRF said it documented “the arrest and torture of five villagers, as well as “house arrest” of seven women and girls, including a heavily pregnant woman. On October 13, shells were again fired into a civilian area, damaging housing and killing livestock, and causing over 180 villagers to seek shelter in a local temple.”

The Shan Human Rights Foundation in its statement claimed that the “shelling and abuses took place in villages which lie in an area from which the SSPP/SSA were ordered to withdraw on October 8, 2014 by the Kholam-based Burma Army’s Central Eastern Command.

The Shan Human Rights Foundation said that the conflict was ongoing as the “SSPP/SSA has refused to withdraw, since this area has been under their jurisdiction for decades, and the current Burma Army operations and pressure to move are in violation of their ceasefire agreement.”

Major General Ner Dah Bo Mya, the chairman of the Karen National Defence Organisation said that the government’s strategy is to increase pressure on ethnic groups in order to divide them during national ceasefire talks and before the 2015 elections.

“We have to be very careful right now,” he said. “We know they have a strategy to divide us. They are afraid when they know our people are united.”

Maj Gen Ner Dah said he was concerned for the welfare of civilians caught in conflict areas and reiterated that it was in the interest of all ethnic groups to unite and trust each other.

“The Burmese soldiers are not highly motivated, many are child soldiers or forced conscripts. Our soldiers and people are motivated – it is our land and our cause. We are volunteers fighting for our people.”

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