Kachins commemorate 10th anniversary of renewed war

Kachin communities around the world today commemorate the 10th anniversary of renewed war in Kachin region.

National Unity Government’s vice president Duwa Lashi La in his statement commemorating the 10th anniversary said the livelihoods of Kachin civilians have worsened since the military dictator Min Aung Hlaing launched a coup on February 1. He exhorted Kachin civilians to unite against the military to eliminate dictatorship and to establish a new federal democratic union.

World Kachin Congress, a network of Kachin communities and organizations around the world, in its statement calls on world leaders, UN representatives and ASEAN leaders to reject State Administration Council and recognize National Unity Government, to impose a comprehensive global arms embargo, to enact targeted sanctions, to work with leaders of EAOs and to ensure that coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and the Burma Army are held accountable for their crimes.

On this day in 2011, a combine force of Burma Army’s 437th Light Infantry Regiment and 348th Light Infantry Regiment troops launched an attack on the KIA’s 15th Battalion’s Bumsan Post in Sanggang, located near Taping hydropower plant in Momauk township, reigniting fighting in Kachin region and effectively ending 17-year ceasefire that had been in place since 1994. 

One of the most notable incident that ignited the renewed war was the case of Lance Corporal Gawmo Chang Ying, a KIO’s liason officer in Sanggang. Burma Army surrounded KIO’s liason office in Sanggang and arrested Chang Ying on June 9 at 5 am. Chang Ying was then tortured and killed by Burma Army troops. Burma Army later returned Chang Ying’s body to KIA troops with full of bruises, stab wounds, and bayonette wounds on June 10, 2011. After that incident KIO recalled its personnel and officials from liason offices across Kachin State and requested the Burma Army to stop sending troops to Kachin frontlines and transporting military hardware. Burma Army ignored KIO’s request and began one of the most widespread war in Burma.

It is estimated that the renewed war has displaced about 130,000 Kachin civilians who have been languishing in over 170 camps scattered across areas controlled by the Burmese government as well as the KIO. After 10 long years, most IDPs families are unable to return to their homes  and still living in temporary makeshift camps across Kachin state. 

According to data collected by KLN, over 400 villages have been damaged in the Kachin region since the renewed war. Over 300 churches and more than two dozens Buddhist monasteries were occupied, left damaged and some destroyed by Burma Army troops. At least 122 schools, 134 childcare centers, and 264 clinics were either damaged or destroyed by Burma Army troops. At least 124 civilians have been killed, 34 Kachin women have been raped, and over 300 innocent Kachin civilians have been imprisoned by Burma Army.