ICRC should visit prison labour camps in Burma: Political prisoner

ew Delhi (Mizzima) – Burma’s many prisons give prisoners poor food and bad health services, and prisoners need the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), a former political prisoner and families of political prisoners said.

icrc“I had to serve my prison term when the ICRC did not come to the prison, so we had to fight for our basic rights regarding the food. Usually we only got very low quality vegetable soup called ‘talabaw’ and low-quality rice,” a former political prisoner Kyaw Win Tun told Mizzima.

icrcKyaw Win Tun, an NLD member, was charged under section 505 (b) of the Penal Code and sentenced to two years in prison. In May 2011, he was released under the one-year commutation ordered by new President Thein Sein.

Political prisoner Pannate Tun, an “88 Generation” student who is now serving his prison term in Bhamo Prison in Kachin State, said he wanted the ICRC to go to prison labour camps, according to Pannate Tun’s mother, Nyunt Nyunt Oo, who visited him last month at Bhamo Prison. Pannate Tun was sentenced to 65 years in prison. Continue reading “ICRC should visit prison labour camps in Burma: Political prisoner”

Army increase security around Three Pagoda Pass

Following a spate of attacks by unknown gunmen and bombers against a businessman with links to the Burma army and other military target in and around Three Pagoda Pass Town, authorities have increased security and the number of checkpoints in the area.

Residents say checkpoints are manned 24 hours and army presence in the town is now highly visible.

A resident who asked not to be named in media reports spoke to Karen News.’


“Since the attacks, there has been far more checking and more checkpoints. Burma army soldiers are on every street corner. All motorbikes and cars are checked. They have been arresting and interrogating people they suspect and some have been temporary detained.”

The residents said that the security checks are strict and are carried out morning to night.

“They check every detail. They are searching for explosives and weapons. Soldiers have checkpoints even on the small side roads. Soldiers wearing uniforms are also stopping people on street corners.” Continue reading “Army increase security around Three Pagoda Pass”

WAR:Army families moving away from battalion (IB) No. 62

July 8th, 2011

Min Thuta – Members of army families of Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 62 based in Thanphyuzayart, Mon State, have recently moved out of the battalion to the town after the news came out that the local security situation is worsening.

“The battalion has over 20 families, and they have moved to sleep at their friends’ homes at night. Some go back to the battalion during the day. They say it is not good a situation inside the battalion,” explained a Thanphyuzayart resident who is close with an army family.

location of IB No- 62location of IB No- 62

IB No. 62 has been fighting with ethnic armed groups because it is located at the edge of Thanphyuzayart town, and the rubber plantations and Taung Nyo range are located just behind the battalion, the resident said.

On 29 June, a bomb exploded in a house near the office of the Township General Administration Department of Thanphyuzayart.

“The news spread that Karen armed groups have arrived near the town. It is very tense about the security in the town due to the case of the bomb blasting and the burning of two highway buses recently,” said an anonymous businessman in the area.

Travelers who go about late at night are being stopped and questioned by local authorities.

“Football audiences who watch outside, and strangers with motorbikes have been investigated. Some have had to sleep in prison cells,” said a youth from the town.

However the authorities have not been able to arrest anyone who has actually interfered with the security of the town.

The authorities also announced an order to all in the township in June to give up any arms being held illegally. Continue reading “WAR:Army families moving away from battalion (IB) No. 62”

WAR:Kachin army ambush leaves 30 dead

8.july 2011 DVB

Kachin army ambush leaves 30 dead thumbnail

Burmese troops ride in a truck through a town in Shan state (Kyaw Khaing)

Around 30 Burmese troops are presumed dead after an ambush by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on a convoy in Kachin state’s Momauk township yesterday afternoon.

Two trucks carrying government soldiers along the Bhamo-to-Myitkyina highway were damaged in the attack; one of the two carrying more than two dozen troops was blown to pieces, according to the spokesperson of the KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO).

The attack came as government representatives were holding talks with the KIA at its headquarters in Laiza. The two sides have been engaged in heavy fighting over the past two months in various regions of Kachin state, forcing the displacement of some 20,000 people.

Government newspapers yesterday reported that the KIA had destroyed a number of roads and bridges in Kachin state.

The reasons behind the outbreak in violence focus largely on attempts by Naypyidaw to gain control over swathes of Kachin state and neighbouring Shan state, where the KIA has territory. The campaign has also been taken to Karen and Karenni state bordering Thailand, where various insurgent groups are based.

As well as exacting retribution on ethnic armies who refused to become government-controlled Border Guard Forces, Naypyidaw is also looking to secure areas around lucrative energy projects in Kachin and Shan state, the majority of which are backed by China.

An article in the New Light of Myanmar newspaper said that the Burmese army had fought the KIA “for the sake of project and public security”, a rare admission of a key reason behind its operations in the country’s north.

Despite several attempts at negotiation, skirmishes continue to break out. Colonel Than Aung, Kachin state’s Minister for Border and Security Affairs sent a handwritten letter to the KIO warning that negotiations would take time.