Members of Kachin Aid Convoy Attacked and Abducted by Burmese Police

Members of the Hpakant-based Myusha Zinlum Hpung (MZH), one of the several Kachin humanitarian groups assisting Kachin state’s internally displaced peoples (IDPs), were reportedly stopped and harassed for several hours along Kamaing-Dumbang highway by Burmese authorities on August 17. The KLN has learnt that the MZH volunteers with 8 aid vehicles were heading their way to Lambraw Yang where the newly minted IDPs from Kasung have been taking shelters in.

Obtaining permission from the Hpakant-based Burmese army, the MZH aid convoy drove east bringing with them the much-need food and other supplies to the desperate IDPs. All other vehicles travelling along the highway were also halted until around 4:00 p.m. while Burmese authorities checked if the vehicles carried valid license plates. While other vehicles without government-issued license plates were let go, 4 aid trucks that belong to MZH members were ordered to remain for further questioning.

A MZH member told the KLN that Kamaing police detained two MZH members, Labang Shaing Rip of Maw One Lay and Yaw Htung of Maw Sizar.

After several negotiations and requests by PCG, leaders of religious organizations, and Kachin NGOs such as WMR, Shalom, Htoi Gender, the drivers of the aid trucks were released on August 20. Burmese police thoroughly searched the aid trucks before they were released, said a MZH member.

During the interrogation, Sarama Kai Ring of MZH fell hard on the concrete floor when a Burmese policeman suddenly pulled her hair from the back. She has been brought to Kamaing hospital to receive treatment for her head wound. The KLN is still trying to identify the policeman who committed this heinous crime against an unarmed civilian, especially a female.

After a surprise attack on their village by Burmese army troops on August 11, the majority of the Kasung civilians have settled in Lambraw Yang. Most fled to escape the wrath of Burmese army troops without taking much personal belongings, thus facing severe shortages of food, clothing and blankets currently. Led by Colonel Aung Than Htwi, approximately 100-men strong Burmese army troops belonging to 381st and 384th Light Infantry Regiments(LIR) under Mogaung-based 3rd Military Operations Command (MOC-3) raided Kasung village.

Currently, there are 597 IDPs taking shelter in Lambraw Yang Kachin Baptist Church compound while another 496 people have been living on the Roman Catholic church compound. Among the IDPs are many children of school-going age, thus the church leaders and elders have been racking their brains regarding the kids’ continuing education. Meanwhile, Kachin community leaders have been making plans to care for the IDPs until they are able to return home safely.

Kachin Christian churches, NGOs and several other local humanitarian groups have donated food, clothing and blankets to Kasung IDPs; however, they IDPs are still facing mounting difficulties as there is not enough space to sit or sleep.

Although the raiding Burmese army troops have been repelled from Kasung by the KIA troops, presently the Kasung civilians are unsure about returning home worried about their safety. Meanwhile, the IDPs are still in shock from the recent happenings.