Tatmadaw Using Civilians As Human Shields in Putao District

Burma Army has been kidnapping civilians, including children, to use as human shields after suffering casualties during the conflict with Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in northern Kachin State.

“Civilians are forced to walk ahead of soldiers, who are taking cover behind them to make it difficult for the KIA to attack them,” a resident of Putao told KNG. The military is also forcing the civilians to work as porters, and some have to carry Burma Army soldiers killed during combat, the source said.

On April 13, Burma Army sustained heavy casualties during two separate clashes near Khin Duyan and Hpong Kyang villages, located between Sumprabum and Putao townships.

The next day conflict erupted near Wadat Yang village during which time about fifty soldiers kidnapped civilians traveling from Myitkyina.

After arriving in the village, a civilian told KNG they were kidnapped and used as human shields. “They told us to walk ahead of them and they followed in civilian vehicles…The soldiers seemed very afraid.”

There are reports of civilians from Sumprabum area who were wounded after being forced to be human shields.

Since KIA destroyed a Burma Army camp on March 11, fighting is breaking out in many areas of Kachin and Shan states. The ethnic armed organization attacked the camp several days after two protesters were gunned down in Myitkyina.

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