Dozens of Civilians Detained In 2020

By Network Media Group.
Wednesday, June 3, 2020

More than 30 civilians have been detained since the beginning of this year, including women and children, by the Burma Army and ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) in northern Shan State, a region of Burma where conflict has been widespread in recent years.

Lway Chi Sangar, spokesperson for Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO), told NMG since January “civilians have been detained often in northern Shan State” with most of the incidents occurring last month in Kutkai and Muse townships.

“Mostly, men are detained, but sometimes it’s also women and even two children have been held.”

She has heard that a child was freed. “As far as I can tell, a grade-7 student has been released. Others remain in custody.”

The child was one of eight civilians recently held by the Burma Army in northern Shan State. Six were from Nam Hwel, near the 105-mile trading zone, and two were picked up at a gas station in Shwe Mongyu, Muse township.

Sometimes the Tatmadaw detains civilians on suspicion of communicating with EAOs or to make them guide their soldiers through the jungle, she says. The Burma Army detained two farmers from Swam Sor ward in Muse township on May 28 to guide their military column and then released the men.

A civilian who did not want their name used told NMG the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) detained six civilians from Mangli in Namtu township for 24 hours on May 27. The source, who is related to a detainee, said the Shan soldiers did not beat them.

“The villagers were cutting trees to build a house. They (RCSS/SSA) thought they were stealing timber.”

Lway Chi Sangar said it was unacceptable for armed groups to detain civilians.”They are normal civilians and are not involved with the ethnic armed organisations. Even village headmen are detained. I think it’s unjust because they’re innocent. In my opinion, they’re intentionally targeting civilians,” Lway Chi Sangar told NMG.

Last month, security forces seized nearly 200 million methamphetamine tablets and more than 500 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in Kutkai township. They also confiscated precursor chemicals
and various weapons from the township. Thirty-three suspects were arrested during the operation, which lasted three months. Locals reported that after seizing drugs and arms, the Burma Army searched many villages.

The Muse Ta’ang Literature and Culture Association, Ta’ang National Party and Ta’ang elders and youths want the Burma Army and EAOs to release all detainees.