Burma Military Not Responsible for Laiza Shelling: Govt Official

Mortally wounded priest Malang Yaw is put in the back of a jeep and taken to Laiza Hospital, were he succumbed to his wounds.  (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

Mortally wounded priest Malang Yaw is put in the back of a jeep and taken to Laiza Hospital, were he succumbed to his wounds. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

Several hours after an artillery strike by the Burmese government killed three civilians and injured four in Laiza town, a government spokesperson has come out to deny that the military was involved in the attack in northern Burma.

Ye Thut, a deputy information minister and spokesperson for President Thein Sein, said in a Facebook post on Monday afternoon that the Burmese military had not been active near Laiza at the time of the artillery attack.

“On the morning of January 14, the Tatmadaw [Burmese military] did not undertake any attacks around the Lajayang area,” he claimed on his Facebook page, which is being followed by thousands of people. “There were no military flights at all in and around that area,” he added.

Lajayang is a strategically important mountain area around Laiza valley in Kachin State that has been the focus of much of the recent fighting between the government and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

Ye Thut claimed that it remained unclear who had fired the artillery rounds into the center of Laiza town. “The news of the explosion needs to be confirmed independently and why it happened,” he wrote.

There were no further government statements about the incident.

On Monday morning around 8 am, two artillery strikes with 105-mm howitzers canons hit the center of Laiza town within minutes of each other, striking a group of Kachin villagers around a fire and a house with several people inside.

The civilians were thrown through the air and hit by shrapnel, according to reporters of The Irrawaddy who were on the scene.

One man was instantly killed in the strike, while a teenager and one adult reportedly died later at the local hospital. Four other villagers, including a toddler, were seriously injured. For a while panic struck in the town and many Kachin villagers talked about fleeing Laiza and crossing into China.

Since last month, fighting in Burma’s northern Kachin State has intensified and the government has launched frequent airstrikes on KIA positions using fighter jets and helicopters in an effort to conquer the mountains around Laiza, a small town on the Burma-China border where the KIA headquarters is located.

Monday’s attack was the first time that Laiza was directly hit. The incident seems to indicate that the Burmese army is increasingly prepared to use heavy firepower in and around Laiza valley, despite the presence of thousands of civilians.

La Rip, coordinator of the Relief Action Network for IDPs and Refugees (RANIR), which coordinates aid for the displaced villagers, said an estimated 15,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are sheltering in camps in Laiza, while another 20,000 residents are hiding in their homes.

He said the civilians were caught between the Chinese border and the escalating fighting in the surrounding mountains.

“Continuing indiscriminate artillery shelling towards Laiza from Burmese government troop based area in Daw Phone Yang begun since December 14, 2012 and today’s [strikes] are the first ever that fell into Laiza residential area, killing and injuring civilians,” he wrote in an email.

“Laiza residents and IDPs are terrified and residents from the quarter where the shells fell are now being evacuated to areas closer to the border. They are sheltering along the Laiza river bank, which divides China and Burma,” La Rip said.

Authorities in neighboring Yunnan Province, in China, announced on Sunday that they were preparing for an influx of Kachin refugees due to an increase in the fighting and had prepared four camps with emergency supplies for 10,000 refugees, Chinese media reported.

An estimated 100,000 villagers have been displaced in the whole of Kachin State since fighting in the region began 18 months ago.

31 Responses to Burma Military Not Responsible for Laiza Shelling: Govt Official

  1. US UN must declare no fly zone over Kachin. The high altitude bombardment become more accurate over times. The 155 mm guns can reach 24 Kms without warning noise so do the high altitude bombing. This is Genocidal War. US and UN must act before the Reputation of the Civilized world is tarnished by this Barbaric Democratic Guise Blood Smeared Government of War Mongaric.

    • Rebelling against sovereign government and terrorist activities since the independent of the country must stop first before crying for help. KIA must lay down the weapon and begin peace talk. Stop people from suffering because of your greed. Do not borrow the term “Genocidal war” for this conflict as KIA is driving their own people into war front for their benefit.

      • The government who used to gun down its people in the streets does not deserve legimaticy even if they wear longyi now instead of military uniforms. They still have blood on their hands. Now they have Kachin’s blood on their face. If they have decency, they should peel off their face before ever showing up in Kachin land again.

  2. We want peace!
    We are not attacking, the planes are defensive.
    We want equality.
    We exercise restraint.
    We have American backing.
    We have co-opted the “Nero” class “oppositionS” and “media”.
    We are “Phar ba-sus”.

  3. Our Goverment should give the real situation and information not only their action but also the Myanmar Army’s dead. So the People can see the consequenses of the attack and I reallhy Pity on Ye Thut, a deputy information minister and spokesperson for President Thein Sein, because he has no authority on Militairy.. Even President has no Autority as he is no Comender in Cheif….

  4. Denial is part of the Thein Sein administration. If it was not from the junta, who the hell in the world would do it? Shame on you, Thein Sein. Your peace movement is on the wrong track.

    • A simple term “liar” and the truth “terrorists” are real brand name of KIA. They were seeking attention from international communities for their own benefit while Myanmar government was in deep trouble over democracy issue. Those day were gone and now the country is moving forward but still struggling. And yet some self-centered and hollow headed people are still hindering the progress of the country moving forward. Think who are on the wrong track.

      • The term liar can be easily bestowed onto the current Burman leader thein sein who said he had no knowledge of assaults on the Kachin, and then admitted that he knew about it when confronted. What a crook!

        • Don’t spit on the dummy just to keep hiding the truth and real intention of KIA’s terrorists activities. They have never revealed the truth and the use of innocents as human shield for their own benefit. They are real thugs!

          • Terrorism? Ever heard of KIA going through a village of another race and raping the women, killing the old, kidnapping the young, and torturing the men. On the other hand, there are countless reports of Burman army doing exactly those things.

  5. This seems to be no other than ethnic cleansing policy which the Burmese military has been using on minority ethnic groups. The ongoing war could also undermine the current peace process by Thein Sein Government.

    • Do you know how many percentages of all ethnic people peacefully living in the mainland? For your information, over eighty percent of all peace loving ethnic people are living side by side with the rest in mainland. Do you want to know why? They couldn’t live with their very own so called ethnic minority militant groups who created fear and suffering for the innocents. There are many military officers from various ethnic groups who are loyal and serving for the country, protecting against the terrorists, militant groups who claimed themselves representing their own people of course they are not supported by the majority.

      • Remaining silent under knives is not equal to living peacefully side by side. If you are sincere, lay the knives on the ground and let them speak their minds. Do you have the guts to hear what’s really on their minds?

        • They are loyal and responsible citizens of the country regardless of hardship they shared with the rest of people who had suffered because of insurgence activities which causes the major downfall of the country economy. You can easily see for yourself why those people don’t want to stay in the land you are called as your land. They are sick and tired of living in fear with their own people who are called activists. They have used their brain and made good judgement to live in peace with other people who embraced them in tranquility. Check the difference of the percentages where they chose to live. They have already made the point clear and ;permanently left the place where they could no longer live under the influence of extremism and terrorists activities.

          • more burmese have moved into ethnic areas than the other way around. using your own analogy, they must be running away from the ruthless rule under their own kind. So, why should the kachin accept the deal that the burmen themselves can’t stand.

  6. I don’t understand what is the purpose of the military gov? I have no clue why other ethnic armed groups are so silent on this horrible attack in front of their eyes. Where is the federal army? What is the Ethnic Nationalities Council doing?
    Unless they band together, the Burmese military gov will never stop shelling bombs on KIA and killing innocent people. Come on! Plz show ur muscles against the Burmese military. Everyone knows that the Burmese military has never been merciful to their own people. Ko Myo MYint’s biographical movie called “Burma Soldier” by HBO proves how heartless the Burmese army is. Fighting back, by joining all the ethnic armed organization, is the only solution.

  7. “Authorities in neighboring Yunnan Province, in China, announced on Sunday that they were preparing for an influx of Kachin refugees due to an increase in the fighting and had prepared four camps with emergency supplies for 10,000 refugees, Chinese media reported.”
    Thank for the China for humanitarian but China should do more after the request of Chinese Kachin. All know that it is Kachin people war so the coward bama army will not win that kind of war although the bama military thugs use the airstrike in this unfair civil war.

  8. I will not be surprised if this information official will deny responsibility when exposed wrong by more evidence. Certainly, he is doing disinformation, not the Kachins or any NGO aid workers present there.
    For who else could have such heavy weaponry, jet fighters and heli gunships?
    Are jade mines and forests so important to the Myanmar military as to fight the locals so cruelly? The natural jade terrain and forests are invaluable assets to the local people, as they live and make a living there. They are true heirs of the land.
    Stop mining jade or any precious stones by heavy mining machinery and let the locals or in- migrants work for them on subsistence or small-scale level.
    Drive out all the big companies (mining jade) from the state. That will do justice, and perhaps, restore peace in the state, having eliminated the primary reason of the present escalated war there.
    The military knows very well that the Kachins won’t come to the negotiating table under duress. And yet, they have the audacity to escalate their offensive and then accuse the Kachins of default. Where is the military’s self respect? Where is the Truth about this war?
    Does the military want PEACE there? If they do, let us see the proof.

  9. the govt is always in denial and excusive. we just have to know it ‘cos they won’t admit as always.decades of lessons have taught us to believe our own eyes and not govt’s irresponsible words.may peace,love fall on the land of Myanmar.

  10. Both Sides should be transparent what they are really doing and how many causalities in both sides. People should be informed which group is resisting to get peace!

  11. So also, all media should report to the people only the concrete information from both the Gov and KIO/KIA. Should not be biased that favour KIO/KIA alone like in the past. All Media have full responsibility to carry out the actual facts to the people. I see mostly that Medias are still having negative views whatever the Gov try to do. This is not a good sign in efforts to develop the nation. Their mind set must be changed! Present both sides! Judgement is at the people’s hand.

    • Three Solutes to you Violet!!! You have made a genuine comments toward peace and the unity of all parties. Some people are too sensitive and emotional in making comments just for the sake of attracting the media coverage. The truth and sincerity, thorough understanding of the root of the problem, providing positive suggestion for peaceful solution are needed. People should be aware that the talk on politic needs facts rather than throwing verbal jibes and accusations against someone who you don’t like.

      • come back and make your so-called genuine comments after burma gets hit by a terrorist attack. with the way they treat rohingya, i bet that golden period should not be too far off.

  12. People have to think why this Kachin problem alone left in peace talks. When other 11 groups successfully reached peace talk and have come back to work together with the Gov, this Kachin group only has still problems to even accept the talk. Why? this is really questionable. Do this Kachin arm groups know what President can do and cannot do according to the current constitution? Other ethnic groups should find out Kachin problems as well which side is telling the lies.

  13. (There are many military officers from various ethnic groups who are loyal and serving for the country, protecting against the terrorists,——————–) , funny comment made with blindness. NO ETHNIC NATIONAL IS SERVING IN ARMY ANYMORE. ALL LEFT DUE TO SYSTEMATIC DISCRIMINATION.

    Be realistic man!!!

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