Karen Human Right Group Information Update

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Published date:
Wednesday, June 19, 1996

[Information Update is periodically produced by KHRG in order to provide timely reporting of specific developments, particularly when urgent action may be required. It is produced primarily for Internet distribution. Topics covered will generally be reported in more detail in upcoming KHRG reports.]

SHELLING ATTACK ON SHO KLOH REFUGEE CAMP

At 6:10 p.m. on Thursday June 13, DKBA/SLORC on the Burma side of the Moei River commenced shelling Sho Kloh refugee camp, home to about 10,000 Karen refugees 110 km. north of the Thai town of Mae Sot. The camp is about 1 km. inside Thai territory. Over the space of 20 minutes, the attackers fired 4 to 6 mortar shells, later identified as Chinese 60mm. shells (which are part of SLORC's armoury but not of opposition groups). The shells were aimed at the centre of the camp. The first impacted by a stream towards one side of the camp, and the following shells were 'walked in' (target adjusted step by step) until they hit near the hospital (the hospital was also the target of a previous armed DKBA assault against the camp). Another shell exploded close to the Buddhist temple.

Naw Mu Khee Po, age 21 and mother of two, ran for cover in a hole under a rock by the stream, however a mortar shell impacted there and she was hit in the temple with shrapnel. She died in hospital the following day. One of her children is a 9-month old infant still breastfeeding. A 12-year-old girl was also injured by shrapnel in the buttock.

Later that night the shelling began again, this time towards the Thai Army positioned at the front of the camp (between the camp and the Moei River). Thai mortars returned fire, and the exchange of mortar fire continued between the Thai and Burmese positions.

The people in the camp believe the shells were probably fired by DKBA forces but under orders from SLORC, and clearly using SLORC munitions. People in the camp are now extremely afraid again. Thai security forces had previously told them to build bunkers away from their houses for refuge in case of an infantry assault on the camp. Now the Thai forces have told them they should also build bunkers under their houses to hide from shelling.