By Kantarawaddy Times
The Karenni Human Rights Group (KnHRG) said the military junta committed genocide by preventing civilians affected by the conflict from receiving food rations and setting fire to their homes. KnHRG director Banyar said they destroy their homes during the attacks so they have nothing to return to, and place landmines around their villages so they are killed if they try to return.
Last Sunday, the junta destroyed at least two houses in Tanee Ler Leh after indiscriminately shelling the village in Demawso Township, where there was no fighting.
A man told Kantarawaddy Times that at least three shells had hit the outskirts of the village, where some residents were staying while others had fled into the jungle. Artillery is fired every night between 9pm and 1am, he said, presumably to alarm civilians who are woken up by the shelling.
“People have to get up. We are worried about our safety. In our village there are many elderly people and children. The old people cannot stay in the bunker all night. The children cry when they hear the shelling.”
Thein Swe is inconsolable after the regime burnt down her house that she worked so hard to build and other houses in another village in Demawso Township.
“We really want to go home. After we fled, we have really struggled. When this conflict is over, I want to build a bamboo hut in my village,” she said. Thein Swe blames all her problems on the military regime, which she hates.
A man who wishes to remain anonymous said that the military killed his neighbours and burned down his house and other homes in an attack on his village in Demawso Township. He said they do not want a dictatorship in his homeland or in the country and when it is all over they can start all over again.
Since the conflict began last May, the regime has increasingly attacked resistance fighters and villagers with artillery, multi launch rocket system, fighter jets, tanks and armoured vehicles, with attacks escalating last month. Villagers, who have had to flee several times, are running out of places to hide from the regime and are struggling with water shortages and food shortages during the hot season.
According to the civilian group Progressive Karenni People’s Force (PKPF), 649 houses and 10 churches and other religious buildings have been destroyed since the coup over a year ago.
According to the Karenni Civil Society Network, 177,115 people have been displaced by the violence in Karenni and southern Shan states as of 1 March, and 212 people have been killed.