Over One Hundred Kokang Civilians Killed in Fighting

Over one hundred residents who fled their homes to avoid fighting were shot and killed in Laukkai Township in the government-controlled Kokang Self-Administered Zone in Northern Shan State according to inhabitants.

Between 15 and 16 February over one hundred men and women aged between 10 and 80 years old were shot and killed when they left their homes to avoid fighting.

Arr Kwam, the owner of a textile shop in Laukkai said: “People trying to get to China to avoid the fighting were also killed. If people are hiding inside their homes soldiers will break the door down and then beat and interrogate the people [inside the house]. People who went back to their homes to pick up their possessions to take them elsewhere were also killed. My sister and her 11-year-old son were also killed. When they came out of our home and reached the street they were shot and killed by the Burmese Army.”

U Tun Myat Lin, the general secretary of MNDAA said: “From Chin Shwe Haw to Laukkai it is full of government soldiers. They control the area and there is a Regional Operations Command (ROC) in Laukkai too. Our forces are only in the mountain ranges, we cannot even approach near the town. Their [The Burma Army’s] forces are shooting people without any reason, now they [have shot] over 100 already. We also have to take into consideration that they may have attacked the Red Cross convoy. We are concerned about these killings and are worried that it might turn into a sectarian conflict.”

The government put the Kokang area under an emergency decree on 12th February and declared the area under martial law for three months on 17 February.

U Khun Sai the director of the Pyidaungsu Institute said: “Peng Jia Sheng dominated the Kokang area (Special Zone 1) from 1969 to 2009. So the president and the army commander in chief should give him a chance to enter into negotiations [with the government]. They should also organise a compromise between Pai Song Cheain (the government back Kokang leader) and him [Peng Jia Sheng]. The government army chief should be brave and continue the peace process, otherwise the war will continue.”

U Tun Myat Lin, the MNDAA General Secretary, said: “According to the government our Kokang forces are one of the 135 ethnic groups in Burma. We will never consider separating from the Union and it is untrue that we are getting any support from China. We want to get back the peace agreement we signed with the government in 1989, like other ethnic groups we want to get real self-determination and equality.”

Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI