Myitkyina Protesters: “Stop taking our jade and giving us bombs”

Photo: Sut Seng Htoi

Thousands of Myitkyina residents poured into the streets on Monday to protest against Burmese military’s airstrikes, bombings, holding hostages and using civilians as human shields in the Kachin region.

Protesters gathered at the Manau compound, held a short prayer and began their march along the main road in Myitkyina. They walked peacefully along the roadside and chanted as they passed Burmese government’s administration buildings.

“Stop taking our jade and giving us bombs,” “Stop airstrikes on civilians,” “Immediately stop  using civilians as human shields,” “Stop NLD government silence on civil war,” “Do not open fire on civilians’ residential area,” “Stop bombing Kachin state,” “we will never forget,” “Immediately stop arresting and interrogating civilians,” and “Stop blocking humanitarian aids,” read placards among protesters.

The IDPs Emergency Relief Committee formed by representatives of local civilians and faith-based organizations who organized the Monday’s protest said in a statement that 3 innocent civilians were killed and five others were seriously injured by Burmese military’s airstrikes in Noi Je Bum, Zee Phyu Kone in Hugaung valley in western Kachin state on January 26, 2018 at 2 pm. About 2000 civilians who fled the fighting have been blocked by Burmese military in Nam Kum village and Pauk Wa village.

“754 civilians that include 186 students, pregnent women, infants, and elders have been hiding in the forest following the fighting in Lawt Mai Yang, Nhtan Zup, Sama Bum, Zup Ra Yang and Ndup Yang villages in Sumprabum township. Burmese military have been carrying out artillery shelling on IDP camps forcing the IDPs to again flee into the forest in cold weather,” said the statement.

The IDPs Emergency Relief Committee demands Burmese authorities to allow humanitarian aids and for civilians to safely get out of the battle zone. The committee’s statement also mentioned the NLD government’s silence on civil war will further the level of civil war.