At least ten villagers were taken captive by Burmese government forces during clashes with the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA).
Photo SHAN- A picture of Burmese soldiers and villagers walking through Donglao village-tract on October 4.
Sai Leng, a Donglao village-tract resident who helps provide aid to refugees in the area, told Shan Herald that at least ten civilians, including women, were arrested by the Burmese military after its Battalion 292 had fought with RCSS/SSA troops in Wan Boi village, Donglao village-tract, in southern Shan State’s Mong Kung Township.
“Around 30 Burmese soldiers entered the village, and we saw they had more than ten villagers with them,” Sai Leng said.
One village elder said that two Donglao residents were among those arrested. He said the pair were cooks at the local drug rehabilitation center, which the RCSS/SSA helps to operate.
The two cooks in question have not yet been released, he said.
Since the fighting broke out on October 1, pictures of Burmese troops marching their captives alongside them have spread on social media.
“Arresting villagers should not be happening right now. This is a time for peace-building in our country,” said Sai Hor Hseng, the spokesperson for Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), a non-profit rights watchdog in the region. “These groups should also not be fighting, because the RCSS/SSA is a signatory to the NCA [nationwide ceasefire agreement].”
SHRF reported that during these recent clashes, a number of local villagers were arrested, tortured and even killed.
In June this year, Shan Herald reported that five Mong Yaw residents in Shan State’s Lashio Township were murdered by Burmese government troops.
During this most recent bout of hostilities in Mong Kung, about 2,000 people, including women and children, have fled their homes in fear. Many are currently sheltering at two monasteries in Donglao village-tract.
“Whenever there is fighting, innocent civilians are the victims,” said Sai Parng, an MP from the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) representing Mong Kung Township. “They are afraid to stay in their own villages, and have no option but to flee to safety.”
The SNLD went on to question the integrity of those who signed the NCA in October last year.
The hostilities are continuing, so we cannot put our trust in the terms of the ceasefire,” he said. “And make no mistake about it – these clashes will keep on happening.”
Human rights activist Sai Hor Hseng urged all parties to “stop fighting in Shan State and other ethnic areas, and release all villagers immediately.”
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)
I have never heard of SSA taking villagers as hostages and using them as human shield. Such ugly incidents are common practice with the Burmese Army. That the NCA is not being honored by the Burmese Army is indication that General Min Aung Hlaing either has no control over his army , or he is working to bring the NCA to naught.
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