Chin civilians bear brunt of conflict in Paletwa, Chin State

By Mizzima
Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) today condemned both the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar Army for human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, in the context of recent outbreaks of conflict between the two sides in Paletwa, southern Chin State in a media release dated 15 June.

CHRO urged the authorities to cooperate with UN agencies and the international community to provide much-needed humanitarian assistance to more than 350 Khumi Chin internally-displaced persons (IDPs), who will run out of food supplies before the end of this month.

CHRO’s briefing describes how the community of Khumi Chin indigenous people were forced to flee when their village of Pyin So,where there is a Myanmar Army military outpost, came under direct attack by the Arakan Army at the end of March.

Around 6pm on 28 March, about 40 armed soldiers from non-ceasefire ethnic armed group the Arakan Army approached the village. On their way to the village, they detained 8Khumi Chin men, two of whom managed to escape and were able to warn the villagers of the impending attack. The eight Myanmar Army soldiers stationed there left their outpost and took up positions around the village. Fighting broke out late that night, and again early the next morning, and Myanmar Army Captain Kyaw Htet Aung was killed. After the Arakan Army effectively seized control of the village, they ordered the Pyin So villagers to dig a grave and bury the body of the Captain. Another ten men were forcibly taken by the Arakan Army to porter their loads for them to the border with Bangladesh.

The primary school in the village was destroyed in the fighting, as well as the schoolteacher’s hostel and two other homes. The roofs were heavily damaged and the properties riddled with bullet holes. Both the Myanmar Army and the Arakan Army have allegedly laid landmines around Pyin So village.

“This is yet another case where ordinary civilians, this time Khumi Chin indigenous people, bear the brunt of armed conflict in Myanmar and suffer human rights violations,” said Rachel Fleming, CHRO’s Advocacy Director. “The long-standing pattern of abuses hasn’t stopped; in fact we see it escalating in the Paletwa area.”

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