CHIANGRAI TIMES – About ten Burma Army soldiers gang-raped a 48-year-old Kachin woman over a period of three days in a church at Luk Pi village of Chipwi Township in Kachin State early this month.
The incident took place when the soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 347 and Infantry Battalion 118 patrolling near the Kachin-China border town of Pang Wa on 1 May found her sheltering alone in the church.
A statement issued today by the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand(KWAT) said the victim was beat up with rifle butts, stabbed with knives and stripped naked before the sexual violence committed by the soldiers.
KWAT said the incident was witnessed by a 59-year-old villager, Yu Ta Gwi, who was looking after his paralyzed wife.
Tied up in the church compound, kicked and stabbed by the Burmese troops, Yu Ta Gwi was later found semi-conscious together with the ‘raped’ woman and were taken to the hospital by some Kachin villagers.
The Kachin woman, a grandmother of 12 children, has been reunited with her family but is still traumatized, according to KWAT.
KWAT has accused Burma’s new government of ‘ignoring’ the incident of sexual violence committed by soldiers and the Supreme Court of dismissing charges against the military for the abduction and disappearance of a Kachin woman named Sumlut Roi Ja.
Moon Nay Li, KWAT coordinator, said: “The message from the Naypyidaw Supreme Court is clear: the Burmese military can rape and kill ethnic women with impunity.”
KWAT calls on Thein Sein’s government to immediately stop using rape as a weapon of war and end the offensive against the Kachin.
The new incident of sexual violence took place close to the site of planned Chipwi hydropower dam on the May Kha River, one of the seven planned mega-dams on the Irrawaddy and its upper tributaries.
The spread of conflict to the Pang Wa area this month has displaced thousands more villagers, heightening the humanitarian crisis facing local communities seeking to feed and shelter over 70,000 people since the Kachin ceasefire was broken in June 2011.