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Return of Karen to the war in Myanmar
More than 2,000 former expellees were re-rooted in Myanmar's Karen state after junta forces breached a 2015 ceasefire deal by stepping into ethnic-controlled areas to build a highroad. Over 60 years of civilian warfare between the Karen National Union and the Myanmar Defence Force have resulted in more than 100,000 Karen returnees leaving in refugee camp along the Thai-Myanmar frontier.
In the Karen State area, Steve Sandford speaks to those affected by the re-fight.
Away from the Rohingya: Myanmar's other crises
As Rakhine State is in the limelight internationally, Myanmar's abuse in Kachin State continues with little worldwide attention. Kachin Independence Army squads are getting ready for combat exercises at the group's headquarter in Laiza, Myanmar, October 16. A bare-footed young woman of no more than four years old is wearing her Hello Kitty rucksack through the jungles in the state of Western Kachin.
They are among the ten thousand who have been evicted by force in Myanmar's most northern Kachin state. There has been a great deal of warfare between the Yangon federal administration and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) since the retreat of the UK in 1948. State-run troops, known as the Tatmadaw, ended the long-standing cease-fire between the two in 2011, which rekindled the dispute with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
The Tatmadaw's rebellion programme includes enforced disappearances, murders, imprisonment and systemic-raping. It stretches beyond Kachin to neighbouring Kachin State and the recent horrors in Rakhine State in the western part. Whilst in Rakhine crowd burials are still being found, global awareness is focused on the 688,000 Rohingya migrants who have passed the Bangladesh frontier since the recent eruption of force in August 2017.
Tatmadaw has started its winters campaign against the KIA and other segregated groups of ethnical minorities in the north of Myanmar. Other people who remain have been seized by the army and are suffering the main burden of scarcity of supplies due to the Tatmaaw's stringent rules for the transportation of travel and gas.
The helpers have been denied entry to this area and the real extent of the force is still not known. The state of Kachin is an economic strategy site due to its deposits of rich deposits of minerals such as precious metals, precious stones, and jad, which KIO has mined for agribusiness. The Tatmadaw used choppers in June 2017 to throw hundred of flyers over the landmines calling for the workmen to go immediately, saying that anyone who continued to work in the landmines would be regarded as an insurgent aide.
During the recent attack, the Tatmadaw has succeeded in demanding some of the landmines previously kept by the TIO under the cover of protection against destruction of the environment. In China, while ongoing peacemaking discussions are taking place with KIA and Tatmadaw officials, China's interest in infrastructure development, including the expansion of transportation connections by the Kachin state, is one of the motivators for the Myanmar government's reiterated resolve to eradicate separatism.
Also China is benefiting from serious weapons trafficking to the Tatmadaw - and at the same time block the efforts of those who flee the force to pass the Chinese frontier.