Some 150,000 people have fled their homes in just a month and a half due to a wave of military bombardments on the state of Kayin
24 Feb. (EUROPA PRESS) –
More than half a million members of the Karen minority in Burma have had to flee their homes due to the conflict in the Asian country after the military coup in February 2021 and, in particular, due to a recent wave of bombardments by the Army against the populations of this ethnic group in their home state of Kayin, in the south and southeast of the country.
The Karen have been calling for almost 80 years since the declaration of a federal system in the country or the autonomy of Burma, either through negotiation or through armed conflict through rebel groups such as the Karen National Union and its arm armed force, the Karen National Liberation Army (or KNLA, for its acronym in English).
After the military coup in February, the Karen have once again risen up in arms against the coup army and their home state of Kayin (or Karen, as the minority itself calls it) has since then become one of the major fronts of fighting between the military and resistance forces and rebel groups.
The Army has multiplied its attacks since the beginning of the year, denounces the Karen civil society. Specifically, and from January 1 to February 15, the Burmese military junta has carried out at least 23 air strikes on the population of the state, according to the NGO Karen Group for Human Rights (KHRG).
These attacks have generated a new population exodus among the Karen minority. According to the NGO’s estimates, within the rebel-controlled areas of the state there were 350,000 internally displaced persons. After the attacks, the number now exceeds half a million, according to the NGO spokesman, Saw Nanda Hsue, to the Mizzima news portal.
The group’s spokesman and sources denounce the indiscriminate nature of the Burmese military bombardments, from homes to the vicinity of schools (such as those that occurred on February 14 and 15).
The Karen groups continue trying to confirm an approximate total number of victims of these bombings, particularly with regard to attacks on civilian populations such as the one that occurred on February 13 against the town of Daybuno, which destroyed at least six houses, in what describe as acts of “State terrorism”.
As of January 30, 2023, there are almost 1.6 million internally displaced persons in Burma, according to United Nations estimates.