Six Kachin villagers who fled from fighting between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese military were detained by authorities and their relatives forced to pay for their food. One was released but five-people are still being held.
The Burmese government authority are charging 30,000 kyat (US$35) to 50,000 kyat (US$59) per month for feeding each of the five-people (one of which is a Grade 8 student), said a relative.
All of the people arrested are from Sut Len Yang where fighting has been ongoing since May. They were arrested on May 7 at a relative’s house in Sarhmaw township where they had planned to stay before traveling to Mogaung Township.
Their relatives have not been allowed to see them.
The five-people who being currently being detained at a police station in Mogaung Township are; Maru Aung, Labya Madi, San Htu, Dabang La and grade 8 student Dabang La.
Nobody knows the real reason why they were arrested and subsequently detained. But some people suspect the authorities believe they were connected to the KIA.
“Whenever we ask they (the police) say they don’t know anything. They just ask for money for their food. We have to give 30,000 kyat per month but some are even asking for 50,000 kyat,” said one of the relatives.
Burmese authorities have arrested many civilians on trumped up charges of KIA connections since they broke a 17-ceasfire on June 9, one-year ago. They have also killed, raped and tortured many people.