A human rights organisation has accused the Burma Army of forcing 10 villagers to be human shields during fighting in Shan State.
The Shan Human Rights Foundation said that Burma Army forced villagers from Kunhing township – in southern Shan State – to march with them on an afternoon patrol to prevent attacks by the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army-South (RCSS/SSA-S) forces which had ambushed the Burma Army troops earlier that day.
“On the way, the troops ordered three more local Shan farmers working outside the village, and a Karen logger working in the jungle, to join the group as [human] shields,” the SHRF said in a media statement.
This meant that a total of 10 villagers were used as human shields that day.
The Shan Human Rights Foundation said that Kunhing town had a long history of conflict.
Kunhing township was heavily affected by large-scale forced relocations of as many as 300,000 civilians between 1996 and 1998 – a displacement which saw more than 300 killed.
The conflict in Shan state is part of a larger war across northern Burma between non-state armed groups and the government that has waged since a government offensive against the Kachin Independence Army in 2011.
Since 2011 more than 100,000 people have become displaced by the conflict.