Myanmar army displaces 4,100 more ethnic Karens (MYANMAR)
Attacks last week by Myanmar's army displaced more than 4,000 members of the country's Karen minority, bringing the number of homeless since the end of February to more than 18,000, a refugee relief organization said Sunday. Refugees and aid groups have said the offensive has been accompanied by killings, torture, forced relocations, the planting of land mines and destruction of food supplies.
The Free Burma Rangers, a private group that sends food and other humanitarian supplies for displaced persons into eastern Myanmar from northern Thailand, said the current offensive by Myanmar's military against Karen guerrillas is the largest since 1997.
Refugees and aid groups have said the offensive has been accompanied by killings, torture, forced relocations, the planting of land mines and destruction of food supplies.
Last month, British lawmakers called for urgent aid for Karen refugees, joining growing calls for the U.N. Security Council to act swiftly against the offensive. U.S. congress members, the European Union and human rights groups have launched similar appeals.
Myanmar's critics also castigate the ruling junta for refusing to hand over power to a democratically elected government and continuing to detain political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar's junta acknowledged last month that the army is targeting the Karen ethnic minority area, saying the offensive is necessary to suppress bombings and other anti-government attacks.
There were three major clashes between Myanmar troops and Karen guerrillas on Friday in Myanmar's Kayin State -- also known as Karen State _ said a spokesman for the Rangers, who asked not to be named to protect his personal safety.
He said the fighting had displaced 1,100 people in the state's Papun district, and another 3,000 people further north also were forced to flee their homes.
The Karen people have sought autonomy in Myanmar, also called Burma, for nearly six decades in one of the world's longest-running insurgencies. The conflict has uprooted hundreds of thousands of Karen, including well over 100,000 now in refugee camps in Thailand.
Von: 12.06.06 http://www.chinapost.com.tw By Granr Peck