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The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has denied allegations by the Taileng (Red Shan) Nationalities Development Party (TNDP) that dozens of ethnic Red Shan villagers were abducted by KIA troops in northern Burma’s Kachin state.
The TNDP claimed that the KIA’s 12th Battalion in Mansi township, where conflict continues between the KIA and the Burmese Army, rounded up around 60 Red Shan villagers and forced them to join the rebel army. The party’s chairman Htay Aung said that the TNDP has obtained the names and details of 40 villagers abducted.
“The [KIA] troops came, armed and in uniform. We know it was them. Some relatives of abducted villagers went to the base to try to bring their loved ones back, but they were also detained when they got there,” said Htay Aung.
“We understand that they are at war, but that doesn’t justify abducting civilians.”
The villagers say they requested assistance from Burmese Army soldiers stationed in the area on 4 December, but the troops refused, claiming that they cannot take action without orders from senior command.
On 11 December, the TNDP sent a letter to the government’s peace negotiator, President’s Office Minister Aung Min, requesting immediate action on the issue, but they have yet to receive a reply.
KIA spokesman Dau Hka rejected the allegation when he spoke with DVB on Thursday, insisting that KIA soldiers do not abduct and forcibly conscript villagers. He added that they have always been willing to resolve issues face to face with the Shan ethnic population in the region.
“The local Shan people always come to talk with us when there is a situation. We always respond to them appropriately – they [TNDP] are talking nonsense to the media – we always stay on good terms with the Shan people, and we resolve issues with them directly,” said Dau Hka.
The Taileng make up about 100,000 of the 1.2m population in Kachin state. The TNDP announced in late October that the party was conducting a region-wide survey to expose alleged human rights violations committed by the KIA against the Taileng people.