Armed conflict in Kachin and parts of Shan State continues, despite ongoing ceasefire talks between the Burma government and ethnic armed groups, as the toll on civilians grows.
Free Burma Rangers, a humanitarian organisation delivering frontline assistance to civilians across Burma, estimate that there were 127 armed clashes in April and May alone causing hundreds of casualties including both civilians and soldiers.
“This period has seen a major escalation in conflict with heavy fighting in the Kokang region, Northern Shan State, between the Burma Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army’s (MNDAA),” the FBR report.
The FBR noted that the, “Burma Army has massively increased its troop levels in the region and has engaged in major military operations, including the use of tanks, heavy artillery barrages and the alleged use of chemical weapons.”
The Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand said that the overall situation in Northern Burma had deteriorated sharply this year.
“Since February 2015, an estimated 100,000 people have been displaced from the Kokang area, adding to over 120,000 already displaced in Kachin areas since 2011.”
KWAT has documented more than 70 cases of sexual violence perpetrated by government forces since the conflict started.
Burma Army soldiers are also alleged to have murdered and robbed a 103 year-old woman and her son in an attack on the village of Mansi on March 21 this year. Since the incident villagers claim that the authorities have yet to charge anyone.