Fifty days after Chaung Hna Kwa armed conflict: Forced Relocation, Property Destruction and Loss of Innocent Lives

January 15, 2024

HURFOM: The armed conflict between the military junta and the joint forces of the Karen National Liberation Army and the People’s Defense Force has lasted more than 50 days, stretching from November 30th, 2023 to January 15th, 2024.

Local residents from nearly 20 villages have experiencing forced relocation, property destruction and loss of innocent lives, torture and extortion, lack of education opportunity, insufficient health service and food shortage.

During the two-month-long armed conflict, about 30,000 residents from villages in Kyikemayaw Township including, Chaung Hna Kaw, Taung Ka Lay, Mell Ta Yoe, Hla Ka Zine, Ma Yan Gone, Paw Law Gone, Mee Twee Gone, Ka Dar, Kyan Taw, Kyauk Kwell, Kaw Don and Kaw Pa Naw villages have fled the area due to the conflict.

Abandoned houses were burgled and valuable things stolen. As of today, 584 houses from Chaung Hna Kaw, 215 houses from Taung Ka Lay, 205 houses from Mell Ta Yoe, and ten houses from Hla Ka Zine, more than 1,000 houses in total, were burgled. 

The armed clash is the worst in Chaung Hna Kwa, nearly all houses in the village were burgled. Other villages also experienced the same situation but it isn’t as bad as in Chuang Hna Kwa. After the burglary, all valuable things were stolen,” said a Chaung Hna Kwa resident.

Motorcycles, furniture, machines, clothes, household and kitchen items, food, electronics and other usable things have been stolen.

According to the locals, the burglars were Burmese soldiers and police forces.

Due to artillery and air assaults, more than 100 houses from Chaung Hna Kwa and nearby villages were destroyed and burnt down. Two eight-year-old girls were killed and other 12 villagers were injured.

On December 23rd, 2023, a displaced person from Mell Ta Yoe came back to the village to check his home. The military arrested and tortured him. They abandoned him in a rubber plantation believing he was dead.

No one is in the village but soldiers are stationed in the village. As there were no armed clashes, he went to the village to check his house. He encountered the soldiers and they beat and tortured him. Then, he was abandoned beside the road as they thought he was dead. The villagers found him on the next day and sent him to the hospital,” said a source close to the victim.

On January 2nd, 2024, two young men from Taung Ka Lay were arrested by the Burmese soldiers.

They arrested them and demanded 3 million MMK for their release. They threatened they would charge them under the Anti-Terrorist Act if they didn’t get the money,” said a Kyikemayaw resident.

At the moment, the military junta controls all entrances and exits of the villages and no one can leave or enter villages without their permission.

Many schools have to be closed due to the armed conflicts and military tension in Chaung Hna Kwa area, Kyikemayaw Township but HURFOM has been unable to collect the exact number. Children are being denied their education.

Those who had to flee their villages are unable to continue their academic year.

Schools are still closed. Even displaced persons can’t return home. The children have had to halt their education this year,” said another source.

The military junta has restricted transportation of food and goods creating food shortage among displaced persons. There are strict restrictions allowing only three or five bags of rice per vehicle.  Any excesses are seized and drivers are verbally abused and beaten.

They check every vehicle passing through their gates. Rice, cooking oil, onion, eggs and all goods must be transported within the limit. If you transport more, your goods will be seized. There have been verbal abuses and beatings. As their allowance is too small, it isn’t okay. We, the people, have to suffer from various plights,” said a truck driver from the Chaung Hna Kwa area.

The military junta has blocked even the ambulances creating insufficient health service to displaced persons.

Recently, a woman with an underlying disease had passed away due to insufficient health care,” said a social worker.

Villagers have been displaced for a long time, and face shortages of food, medicine and basic items.

If the military junta blocks donors who try to help displaced persons like this, everyone will be in trouble,” said the social worker.


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