Troops from three Burma Army regional commands are poised to launch a final assault on the Shan State Army (SSA) North’s Wan Hai base in Kehsi township, according to both civilian and SSA sources.
The three are Lashio-based Northeastern Region Command, Taunggyi-based Eastern Region Command and Kholam-based newly established Middle East Region Command. Their forward HQs will be in Nampook (in Mongyai township), Mongnawng (in Kehsi township) and Mong Awd(Monghsu township) respectively.
Civilian motor vehicles have also mobilized to support the offensive. In Kehsi, where Maj Gen Aung Than Tut, Director of Bureau of Special Operations #2 which oversees all Burma Army units in Shan State is believed to have set up his forward base, 1 pick-up, 1 van and 1 tolaji (farm tractor used for transport) has to be at the Infantry Battalion 131 command post 24 hours a day by shifts.
Non-combatants in Wanhai, as a result, have been evacuating since 11 July leaving the town deserted.
All sources agree that the attacking troops have been given a free hand in dealing with the local populace in the war zone. “If they are E-ja-kway (Chinese Youzhagui, deep-fried twisted dough sticks), get rid of them,” one source quoted an officer as saying. “If they are Samoosa (Indian-samosa, fried stuffed pastry), eat them.”
E-ja-kway means male, and Samoosa means female, according to the source.
The information matches with a statement released today by the Kachin Women Association of Thailand (KWAT), which has so far documented the rape of 32 women and girls in 8 townships since 9 June. “Refugees describe soldiers declaring they have ‘orders to rape women,’” it reads.
Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), whose joint report License to Rape in 2002 had drawn the attention of the international community also reported on 14 July that the Burma Army troops were being “given free rein to rape children, the pregnant and (even) the elderly.”
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