UN Worries of Escalation Between Military Forces and Armed Groups in Myanmar

Published May 16th, 2018 - 05:00 GMT
Myanmar police (AFP/File Photo)
Myanmar police (AFP/File Photo)

The U.N. on Tuesday warned of increasing attacks perpetrated by military forces and armed groups in the Kachin and Shan states of Myanmar.

"We are deeply concerned about the escalation in attacks by military forces and armed groups in Kachin and northern Shan States in Myanmar. Some 7,400 people have been internally displaced in Kachin State since early April," U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said in a press conference in U.N. at Geneva on Tuesday.

The Myanmar military and the Kachin Independent Army (KIA), an armed ethnic group, have engaged in clashes after a 17-year cease-fire broke down in June 2011.

Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as fighting between the military and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has escalated in the northern Kachin state since April.

"About 2,000 of these civilians spent about four weeks trapped in the jungle after fleeing the fighting in the conflict zone of Awng Lat, but this weekend, they were reportedly relocated to other towns in Kachin State. Many more remain trapped in areas of active fighting, with extremely difficult escape routes through mountains and forests, and in need of humanitarian support," Colville said.

"In Shan State, on Saturday, at least 14 civilians were reportedly killed and at least 20 others injured in attacks by armed groups, with the military mounting an offensive in response," Colville said.

The ethnic rebel group Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) said it had launched surprise attacks on three military outposts near and in Muse, a major trading town in the northeastern part of Shan, earlier in the day.



"There are also reports that the military, known as the Tatmadaw, has used heavy weaponry an aerial bombing in the region. More than 600 people have been displaced in Namtu Township in northern Shan," Colville said.

Kachin and Shan are not the only states to have faced their share of violence in Myanmar.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 Rohingya, mostly children and women, fled Myanmar when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the Amnesty International.

At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in the western Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a report published on Dec. 12, the global humanitarian organization said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The U.N. has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, U.N. investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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