Burma Army Uses Human Shields During Conflict In Karenni State

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By Kantarawaddy Times

In eastern Demawso Township the military is using villagers as human shields in battles against Karenni Army (KA) and Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF).

According to a source from Humanitarian Focal, Burma Army (BA) forced civilians to stay in their village and tied some of them with ropes while not allowing other residents to return to their village.

”They used the villagers as human shields and we are worried about the safety of everyone in this region,” he said, explaining that the soldiers had not arrested civilians in the past.

Fierce fighting between the military and the combined forces of KA and KNDF displaced more than 2,000 villagers in the area last Friday, August 13.

According to residents, the army arrested and beat five people on Saturday and forced them to walk in front of their soldiers.

Everyone fled the fighting in the area, except for a few people who were stuck in their village because they did not have enough time to flee before the soldiers blocked all the roads in the area,” another male source told Kantarawaddy Times.

Those who managed to escape were only able to take a few things with them and they will soon run out of food, he said. At the same time, everyone is terrified about getting COVID -19.

“Since the planting season has just started, no one has much rice, but everyone is sharing what they have with each other. Eventually they will run out of food, and that is what we are worried about. We are also worried about their health,” he told Kantarawaddy Times.

The KNDF spokesperson said no one would be able to return home soon because the BA is launching a clearance operation in Hpruso and Demawso townships.

Since the conflict started in May, the military’s offensives have displaced more than 100,000 people, which is over 25 percent of the population of Karenni State.

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