Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Villagers Confined like Hostages in Nhka Ga

Nhka Ga Village, Machanbaw Township
Nhka Ga villagers are being confined in their own village and held like hostages by government soldiers from Burmese army’s 137th Light Infantry Regiment and 138th Light Infantry Regiment. 17 villagers, including the village’s Christian minister, Pastor Ram Sai, and others who have been interrogated and severely beaten by government soldiers, are in dire need of immediate medical care but are not allowed to go outside Nhka Ga village.
Representatives from Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), Machanbaw’s USDP members and Rawang Cultural Association members are allowed to visit Nhka Ga village on Sept 26-27. They are the first outsiders to ever reach Nhka Ga village since late August as government soldiers built a fence around Nhka Ga and closed the area.
A Baptist minister who accompanied with the group said the villagers are living in a constant state of fear and intimidation by government soldiers. The soldiers are living in villagers’ houses and follow them wherever they go. The villagers cannot go to their farms and even afraid of going latrines, especially at night, said the minister.
The visiting representatives asked Burmese army battalion commander to let them take Pastor Ram Sai and others who need medical attention to Machanbaw. But the commander told them that he needs to report to higher officers and gave no permission to let them go to hospitals, said the minister.
The next day, the villagers were gathered for a public meeting and Burmese army officers asked them to tell if there was any rape case committed by soldiers from 137th LIR and 138th LIR. The minister said, “All villagers were quiet, tears run down some faces, but nobody said a word.”
Several local sources reported that a 29-year-old mother of an infant baby was raped by Burmese army’s 137th LIR soldiers. And another group of soldiers from Burmese army’s 66th Light Infantry Division (LID) arrested and gang raped women and girls and left them without clothes in a nearby forest.
Another source in Machanbaw told KLN that Machabaw’s town administrator U Tin Myo Aung is harassing Kachin IDPs who have fled recent battle zone near Nhka Ga village. Those Kachin IDPs are from surrounding villages and living in temporary shelters in a Church compound in Naung Hkai village located across Machanbaw. There are 43 IDPs currently staying in Naung Hkai Baptist Church’s compound. Kachin IDPs were asked several questions and scolded by government officials under town administrator U Tin Myo Aung. “They are often asked to go back to their home villages. They are constantly being watched by authorities,” said the source.
Burmese army has transported more troops and ammunition to Nhka Ga area since a series of battles took place late August between KIA’s 7th Battalion and a combined force of Burmese army’s 137th LIR and 138th LIR.