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Civilians rescued from fighting in Kachin State; Seven Rohingya killed in Arakan State after military training

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Civilians rescued from fighting in Kachin State

Religious groups negotiated the release of 2,000 residents of Shwe Nyaung Pin and Aungmyay 1 & 2 villages in Waingmaw Township of Kachin State on Wednesday. At least four civilians were killed and two children were injured inside a monastery where they were sheltering from attacks. 

“All civilians stuck in their villages are now free. We negotiated with regime officials,” said an unnamed source from a local group. The 2,000 rescued civilians were temporarily relocated to Maingna village in Waingmaw Township. 

They had been trapped since fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burma Army began in the area on March 7. They accused the Burma Army of using them as human shields. 

Military accused of forcefully conscripting Rohingya 

A video circulating online, and shared by the National Unity Government (NUG) Deputy Minister of Human Rights Aung Kyaw Moe, allegedly shows new Burma Army recruits in Arakan State. The Rohingya Maìyafuìnor Collaborative Network Executive Director Yasmin Ullah confirmed to DVB that the video includes Rohingya. 

“Seeing that Rohingya are also being conscripted forcefully into the [military], and there are some allegations that the Arakan Army are also doing the same, it’s quite worrisome. But it’s beyond worrisome now that we’ve seen some footage of Rohingya,” said Yasmin Ullah. 

The military activated its conscription law on Feb. 10. Rohingya leaders have been asked to compile a list of names with those in the age bracket of 18 to 35 for military training. Ullah added that Rohingya communities in Arakan State are on the brink of starvation. 

Seven Rohingya killed in Arakan State after military training

Rohingya living in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps, located in the Arakan State capital of Sittwe, told DVB that families received the bodies of seven Rohingya men killed after military training on Thursday. 

“Those bodies were relatives of [IDP] camp leaders. They were wrapped in blankets. I’ve been told that they died due to injuries received from landmine explosions,” said a Rohingya IDP camp leader. The Burma Army reportedly gave a 15-day military training to nearly 1,000 Rohingya IDPs in February. 

The President of the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK) Tun Khin told DVB that 97 Rohingya forcefully recruited into the military have been killed so far. The Rohingya IDP camp leader added that the recruits were told they would receive a National Registration Card (NRC) in return for military service.  

A protest calling for sanctions in Burma held outside of the British Foreign Office in London on March 13. (Credit: Stars of Myanmar Friendship)

UK protesters call for targeted sanctions on Burma

Eighty people protested outside the British Foreign Office in London on Wednesday. They called on the U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron to sanction the Myanma Oil & Gas Enterprise (MOGE), Myanmar Investment Commercial Bank (MICB) and Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB).

“When he became Foreign Secretary, we looked on hopefully to see how he would act for us. However, we haven’t heard any initiation from David Cameron yet,” said Julie Khine, co-founder of the U.K.-based group Stars of Myanmar Friendship.

The U.K. government has sanctioned sources of revenue, arms, jet fuel and equipment to Burma, including military-owned companies and the gems sector. The U.S. and E.U. have placed targeted sanctions on MOGE, MICB and MFTB.

News by Region

ARAKAN—The Arakan Army (AA) Humanitarian and Development Coordination Office (HDCO) claimed that over 30 civilians have been killed during fighting in Minbya Township since Monday. It added that the Burma Army has committed arson, fired artillery, and conducted airstrikes against civilian areas. The AA has taken control of seven townships in Arakan and Paletwa Township in Chinland. 

KACHIN—Bhamo Township residents said that at least 10 civilians were killed by artillery during fighting between the KIA and Burma Army from March 10-12. “People are concerned that shells will land in their villages,” said a Bhamo resident. Sixteen young men and a pastor from an IDP camp run by the Kachin Baptist Church were arrested during a raid on March 10.

KAREN—The Karen National Union (KNU) stated on Wednesday that at least ten civilians were killed and 20 homes were destroyed by artillery and airstrikes in Myawaddy Township. The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) attacked and seized the Burma Army’s 355th Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) in Thingannyinaung on March 7. 

Six KNLA members were killed and eight others were injured during the attack. It said nineteen Burma Army personnel were killed and many weapons, including military vehicles, were confiscated. More than 5,000 residents of Thingannyinaung villlage have been forced to flee their homes due to the fighting. 

MANDALAY—Three civilians have been killed and residents from seven villages in Myingyan Township have been forced to flee their homes due to arson attacks conducted by the Burma Army from March 11-13. “They continue to burn down homes,” said a Myingyan resident. 

Our Voices Our Needs: An exhibition of unseen voices of women from Myanmar is March 20-24 at Galerie Simonis in Brussels, Belgium. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads, TikTok & YouTube.

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