Civilians Dig Bunkers To Hide From Regime Airstrikes In Karenni State

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Karenni villagers are digging bunkers to protect themselves from the ongoing air raids while the regime continues its months-long offensive targeting resistance groups and ordinary civilians who’ve fled subsequent waves of violence in Burma’s smallest state.

In mid-January, the military deliberately bombed several camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). In one of these attacks, two girls aged 12 and 15 and a 52-year-old man were killed in the Rekeebu IDP camp in Hpruso Township. A day earlier, the regime killed three minors in an airstrike on a camp in Nam Maekhong, Demawso Township.

An IDP, who requested anonymity, said the Karenni Army (KA) and other resistance groups had told them to dig the bunkers. ”When fighter jets fly overhead, we can hide in them,” he said.

Another man, asking that his name not be mentioned, said it depends on their karma. “We cannot predict when the fighter jets will come and bomb us…If we hear them, we’ll hide in the bunker.”

More than 20 civilians have already died in Karenni State this year from airstrikes and shelling.

“Fighting has intensified in ethnic Chin, Karen and Karenni states and our civilians are really suffering. We need to stop the attacks, so we call on the international community and UN to intervene and provide humanitarian aid to the people,” Aung San Myint, second secretary of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), told Kantarawaddy Times. He said the Burma Army had attacked civilians in the ethnic states with artillery, heavy weapons, fighter jets, armoured vehicles and attack helicopters.

Last week, the KNPP, Karen National Union and Chin National Front issued a joint statement calling for support for the IDPs. At the same time, Bo Bo, spokesperson for the Karenni State Police (KSP), said they’re gathering evidence of the regime’s crimes against humanity that will hopefully lead to the military being indicted at the International Criminal Court.

Next month, the regime will deliver its preliminary objections in the The Hague against Gambia’s genocide charges related with the army’s 2017 clearance campaign against the Rohingya in Rakhine State.

The KSP was formed by police officers who joined the protest movement against the dictatorship.

The KNPP is the political wing of KA, which is fighting against the dictatorship together with several civilian resistance groups formed in May last year.

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