Weapons used in protest crackdown were meant for Kachin war

Government authorities crackdown Letpadaung protest (Photo: AP)

A police officer from No. 16 police battalion in Sagaing Division said the weapons used to crackdown on Letpadaung protesters on Nov 29 were meant for Kachin war. The authorities used incendiary phosphorus shells to disperse Buddhist monks and local villagers who have been protesting the expansion of a copper mine project, a joint venture between China’s Wangbao Mining Ltd. and Burmese military-owned Union of Myanmar Economics Holdings Ltd., near Monywa. It is unknown how phosphorus shells were mixed up with tear gas bombs used to disperse protesters in riots.

Burmese army just recently sent 8 infantry battalions from Monywa-based North Western Command to Kachin battlefields to reinforce frontline units.

After suffering high casualties, Burmese Army resorted to use mortar and artillery shells filled with chemical agents in battles against Kachin Independence Army, said a KIA officer. Chemical weapons were reportedly used in battles at Gara-yang, Shwe Nyaung Pin, Sanggang, and Pang Hkawn Yang.

An unusual yellow rain fell was reported in Maija-yang town and surrounding areas near China-Burma border after Burmese army fired a number of artillery shells filled with chemical agents in November of last year. Yellowish residue left on roofs and plant leaves by the rain stirred fears among Maija-yang residents at that time.

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