7 villages in Shan East burnt down by Burma Army soldiers

Despite a popularly ‘elected’ government, human rights violations in ethnic states carried out by Burma Army soldiers are still coming out. 7 villages in Shan State East’s Mongpiang township, having an estimated 70 households were razed  down to the ground by locally based Burma Army soldiers, alleging people there as agents of Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’, according to local sources.Apart from the burning, some male villagers were also arrested and beaten. The actions were taken by Burma Army’s Infantry Battalion (IB) 43, said a local villager from Mongpu, south of the township seat, who just fled to the border.

The said 7 villages, 4 Lahu  and 3 Palaung, were located in Mongpu Long village tract of Mongpiang, some parts of  which are operated by the SSA ‘South’ and some controlled by the Burma Army. The township is located west of Kengtung, capital of Shan East.

“We got no time to collect our things. They set fire to the houses as soon as they arrived in the village. All houses in the village went down in fire. Men were arrested and beaten up. One of the men, Ai Kha, 41, was taken by the soldiers. There are no reports about him to help us guess whether he is still alive or not,” said a source in a shaking voice.

“The soldiers said we fed and gave supplies to the Shan army and not informing them of its whereabouts. Ai Kha was accused as the person who served as a guide for the Shan army,” she said.

One of them, Ai Jawa, Lahu man, was released later after investigation. But he was seriously wounded on his head, she added.

The incident took place on 19 April. According to sources, villagers are fleeing everyday to other places since then. Violations and abuses were reported to have worsened after the elections. Human rights situation in Shan State are reported monthly by the Shan Human Rights Foundation based in Chiangmai.

From 27-July-1 August 2009, more than 500 houses and 200 granaries in villages in Shan State South’s Mongkeung, Laikha and Kehsi townships, had been razed to the ground and over 10,000 people became homeless after being relocated by the Burma Army’s 5-day scorched earth campaign, also known as Four Cuts – cutting off food, funds, intelligence and recruits by local villagers to the resistance due to similar allegations by the Burma Army.

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