Burma's army shells Kachin headquarters, kills civilians, earns international condemnation

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

China Aid Association

(Laiza, Burma–Jan. 22, 2013) Four civilians were killed and three others injured when Burmese government forces shelled the border town of Laiza, the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organization, as fighting between the two sides escalated in northern Burma, ChinaAid has learned.

Chinese Christian journalists sent by ChinaAid to the frontlines of the fighting report that the Burmese army hit Laiza on the morning of Jan. 14 with artillery shells that caused the serious civilian casualties. The three wounded were a woman and two children. The shelling also posed a danger to the safety of civilians on the Chinese side of the border in Yunnan province.

The ChinaAid reporters, who have been at the frontlines for almost a year, also sent back graphic photos of the injuries and of many residents fleeing the town.
(Blood-stained dirt floor of the residence of a Christian resident of Laiza. ChinaAid photo)

(Feet of one of those killed in the Jan. 14 shelling of Laiza. ChinaAid photo)

According to the international media, including the ChinaAid reporters, Burma's military junta is attempting to wipe out the Kachin independent government through military force. In blatant violation of international conventions and the principles of humanitarianism, the military is using terror methods that not only have often resulted in collateral damage but has even caused deliberate civilian injuries.

(Medical workers treating those injured in the shell attack. ChinaAid photo)

(Christian funeral service. ChinaAid photo)

At a regular press conference on Jan. 17, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed that at about 4 p.m. on Jan. 15, during armed clashes, a bomb landed in China’s Yunnan province, about 500 meters from the border.  Fortunately, there were no casualties. China sought urgent diplomatic dialogue with the Burmese government and expressed its deep dissatisfaction.  It also urged Rangoon to investigate the incident and take all necessary measure to prevent a recurrence.

According to news reports, Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called publicly for a ceasefire after being criticized for her silence. Now a member of parliament, Suu Kyi had spent 15 of the 21 years ending 2010 under government-imposed house arrest.

ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu said, "Burma's military government must immediately stop indiscriminately shelling the minority Kachin people, soldiers and civilians alike. We call upon the international community and Burma's democratic forces to work together to find a peaceful solution for the protection of Kachins so that an ethnic cleansing tragedy can be prevented."

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