Burma Army Detains Civilians in Shan State

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Seven villagers in Kunhing Township were detained for more than a day after renewed fighting between the Burma Army and the RCSS/SSA.

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On the morning of August 25, seven residents from Zaikhao tract, Kunhing Township were taken from their village by Burma troops after military clashes with the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA).

The men were held in an unknown location before being released yesterday. There has been no update about their condition since their release.

The seven detainees are identified as follows:

  1. Loong Nanta ( the headman of Zaikhao tract)
  2. Loong Kawli
  3. Sai Arh
  4. Ko Toon
  5. Sai Naratta
  6. Sai Kawntinya
  7. Sai Khurharn

clashes preceded the men’s arrest, said Sai La, spokesperson of the RCSS/SSA. They occurred in two villages: Peng Khan and Wan Lao. The fighting broke out when RCSS/SSA troops entered Kunhing Township after traveling from Namzang Township in southern Shan State.

Nang Wa Nu, Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) Member of Parliament, reported that she has contacted U Aung Min, the Vice Chairman of the government’s Union Peacemaking Working Committee, in writing, expressing concern for the detainees’ security and that of local civilians, particularly during Burma’s ongoing peace process. She said that people in Kunhing are now fearful and worried for their safety since the detention of the seven local men.

Villagers are also concerned by a recent increase in the number of Burma Army troops in the area.

Arrest and detention of civilians by the Burmese military during conflict has been previously reported and documented throughout the country.

“When there was a fighting in local area, the Burma Army would allege villagers’ involvement in assistance of the Shan army,” said Sai Hor Seng, of the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), an organization that documents human rights violations in the region. “In many cases [of detention], the Burma Army forced the villagers to be their porters, and tortured or even killed them.”

In March of this year, the Shan Herald Agency for News reported on the detention of Sai Hsai Khur, a teacher from Wan Nar Kun village in Mongnai Township. He was arrested on his way to a teachers’ meeting at a temple in the area. The Burma Army detained him for two days, reportedly tying him to a tree and interrogating him.

“They asked me where the Shan State Army bases are and how many soldiers do they have,” he is quoted as saying. “When I replied that I don’t know anything, they kicked me and pointed a gun at my head.”

In response to such reports, government representatives have remained silent on or denied the practice of unlawful detention, suggesting that evidence of violations be disclosed to local military commanders.

By SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.)

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