More than 700 Karen Villagers Displaced from Their Homes–

April 9, 2006

Christian Freedom International Requests Emergency Donations to Assist Persecuted in Burma

KO KAY VILLAGE, Burma, April 8 /Christian Newswire/ — Burma’s military dictatorship has launched a new wave of attacks against predominantly Christian Karen villages. In Burma this time of year is known locally as the “killing season” and this year is no exception. During the dry season soldiers can move more easily in the dense jungles of Burma, and this year the military junta has stepped up its genocidal attacks on the Karen, an ethnic minority in Burma.

Saw Aro, 50, is a soldier with the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), a vastly outnumbered militia that has been fighting for survival of the Karen people since World War II. Aro reported to Christian Freedom International that over 700 displaced men, women, and children recently arrived here in Ko Kay village. Aro said, “They came from Toungoo and Nyaunglebin districts.”

According to Aro, “The Burmese Army recently brought in 10 battalions with some 1,500 new soldiers from Rangoon. The new soldiers are making big problems.”

“When the new soldiers arrived in Toungoo and Nyaunglebin districts, they spread their soldiers around the area. They try to find Karen villages. If they see the villagers, they try to capture and persecute them. So, people who living there–they do not dare to face the Burma army. They fled their villages and are hiding in the mountainside and jungle in the safe places to save their lives,” said Aro.

This is creating a humanitarian emergency. Aro said, “The Burmese came and destroyed everything so all the villagers having nothing to eat and cannot grow food for the year.”

Displaced Karen villagers have been on-the-run for days. Aro said, “They came from Toungo and Nyaunglebin district area. Before they arrived in Ko Kay village they have been facing many terrible things. They have to walk for ten days. In the midst of walking, there was a lack of security, foods, and medicine. Also the Burmese soldiers try to block them and lay landmines. But in this difficult situation they go through day by day with some Karen soldiers who know the way and lead them.”

The displaced villagers are facing a shortage of food and medicine in Ko Kay. “There is not enough food and medicine right now for the villagers. It is a major problem,” said Aro.

Aro said, “Mostly they do not want to go back to their villages. Some people said, if they can stay in Ko Kay they will. Others, they want to cross the border line and live in the refugee camps in Thailand.”

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