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(5 April 2013) - Over 1,000 flee Burma Army abuses in new operations against Shan State Army-North

Atrocities by Burmese troops in a new military operation against the Shan State Army North (SSA-N) have caused over 1,000 villagers, from 16 villages in Tangyan, to flee from their homes during the past two weeks.

Since February, thousands of Burmese troops and artillery have been deployed to pressure the SSA-N to withdraw from its territories along the Salween River, near Tangyan. There have been armed clashes, and Burmese troops have been laying land mines and committing human rights violations against local civilians.

On March 27, three teenage girls were detained and made to work for two days and nights at a Burma Army base. On the same day, two men seized as porters were killed by Burma Army landmines.

Villagers dare not stay in their villages anymore and have fled to Tangyan town. Burmese troops have stopped villagers from taking food with them.

Currently, over 700 Shan, Palaung and Lahu villagers are sheltering in the town of Tangyan, in several temples and a school. Other are hiding in the jungle.

Some local community members attempting to take food and supplies to the displaced villagers have been blocked on the road by Burma Army troops.

The current Burma Army Operations commander of Tangyan (who was formerly Operation Commander of Mong Yai) is known for restricting cultural activities of local Shan, who have been forbidden from celebrating the Shan New Year and raising the Shan flag.

The Shan State Army-North formerly had a 22-year ceasefire agreement with the Burmese government, from 1989, but in March 2011 the Burma Army broke the ceasefire by launching a large-scale military offensive against SSA-N, which displaced over 30,000 civilians. SSA-N signed a new ceasefire agreement with the government in January 2012, but this is now being breached by the current Burmese military operations.

Details of displacement and human rights violations(March 15-30, 2013):

From 15-20 March 2013, it is estimated that over 1,000 villagers were displaced from approximately 16 villages due to fighting between SSA-N and the Burma Army, and abuses committed by the Burmese troops.

The names of villages from which villagers have been displaced. 1) Parng Mong village
2) Kong Saai village
3) Wan Phak Tam Laai village
4) Wan Loi Jay village
5) Wan Mark Waao village
6) Wan Kong Kaw village
7) Wan Hwebu village
8) Nam Mai Nod village
9) Wan Kao Luang village
10) Wan Par Hpang village
11) Wan Ho Taad village
12) Wan Nong Ab village (new village)
13) Nam Hsi Jeng village (Lahu village)
14) Nam Bu Laeng (Lahu village)
15) Hwe Aw village (Lahu village)
16) Nam Hpard village (Lahu village)

There are over 700 sheltering in Tangyan town. The government has not provided any assistance to the displaced villagers sheltering in the town, but some government officials have visited them and told them they should return home. The villagers told them that if the Burma Army did not withdraw, they would not dare to return home.

Three teenage girls detained by Burma Army soldiers, forced to work at army base for two days and two nights

On March 27, 2013, Burmese troops seized three Palaung girls from Nam Mai Nod village, Loi Jay tract, Tangyan township, and made them work at their military base for two days and nights. The girls are aged 13, 15 and 16.

Two porters killed by Burma Army landmines

On March 27, 2013, two villagers from Wan Kong Saai, Loi Jay tract, Tangyan township, who had been forcibly conscripted as porters, were killed by Burma Army landmines. Their names are Loong Laai Hseng, a village headman, aged 53, and Loong Kham, aged 40.

They had been conscripted to be porters with several other villagers by Burma Army troops from IB 523, based west of Wan Loi Tangyan under the Lashio regional commander. When they were conscripted, their hands were tied up.

Two villagers forced to collect water injured by Burma Army landmine

On March 26, 2013, Sai Hlu, a 27-year-old man from Huay Bu village, and Sai Herng, a 22 year-old man from Kong Saai (son of Kong Saai village headman, Loong Laai Hseng) were injured from stepping on a Burma Army landmine. They had been forced to fetch water by the Burma Army, and were carrying the water back when they stepped on the mine.

A villager from Wan Nam Mai Nod village said the Burma Army had laid about 17-20 mines each day at their village. They could not live in their village anymore, so they had moved to a temple in Tangyan town.

Villagers said that the Burma Army paid compensation of 500,000 kyat (US$570) to those who had been killed by landmines, and 10,000 kyat (US$11) to those injured.

Looting and destruction of villagers' property

On March 27, 2013, the Burma Army came to several villages and looted and destroyed villager's property.

1) Loong Kham Hsoi, of Hwebu village, Tangyan township, had the entrance door of his house destroyed by the Burma Army.
2) Sai Zarm, of Hwebu village, Tangyan township, lost his pig, which was shot by Burma Army soldiers; the pig was worth 80,000 kyat.
3) Loong Hla, of Nam Mai Nod village, Tangyan township, lost property estimated at 100,000 kyats.

The Burma Army also seized seven pigs from villagers in Wan Nam Mai Nod, without paying anything to the owners.

Moreover, when villagers fled from their villages and tried to carry as much food as they could with them, the Burma Army did not allow them to take anything with them. When the Burma Army saw them with their food or sacks of rice, they ran after the villagers and cut the rice sacks of the villagers. Then the Burma Army also broke into the houses which were locked by the owners villagers' food and property as they wanted. (According to a villager from Wan Kong Kaw village)

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