Around sixty residents of Mong Koe sub-township in northern Shan State’s Muse Township were last week captured and detrained by Burmese government forces, according to the Kachin Peace Network (KPN).
Some 70 people were arrested when they were traveling from Mong Koe to a wedding ceremony in Paw Joone Par village on November 20, when they were ordered to stop by Burmese troops. Twelve persons, identified as Chinese individuals, were subsequently released the following day after intervention from Chinese authorities. On November 25, another two ethnic Burmese wedding guests were released; the rest remain in detention.
Speaking to Shan Herald, Gum Sha Aung, a spokesperson for the KPN, said, “The Tatmadaw [Burmese government troops] arrested them while they were en route to a wedding ceremony. We therefore demand they all be released immediately.”
He said that many other villagers from Mong Koe have already fled across the China border to avoid armed clashes in the area between the Tatmadaw and an ethnic alliance comprising the Arakan Army (AA), the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).
The ethnic militias, which have since branded themselves the “Northern Alliance,” launched coordinated military offensives on November 20 against Burmese units in northern Shan State, including the Muse Township villages of Mong Koe and Parng Zai, the 105-Mile border trade zone, and areas of Namkham and Kutkai tonwships.
In a statement on November 29, KPN accused the Burmese military of violating the Geneva Convention by arresting civilians.
“We call for an immediate end to the conflict,” said KPN. “We must all work together to bring peace to the country for the betterment of the people.”
According to a Myanmar Times report on November 28, some 2,000 civilians have been trapped in the crossfire in the Hai Kaung area between the towns of Pang Zai and Mong Koe.
Clashes remain intense in the areas of Muse, Namkham and Kutkai townships. Northern Alliance attacks have targeted Burma military outposts and police stations. Less than two weeks since fighting broke out on November 20, more than ten civilians have reportedly been killed and other 40 injured, while thousands have abandoned their homes to seek refuge elsewhere.
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)