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Karenni State, Burma

Even as Burma Army air and ground attacks kill children, and entire villages flee their homes to IDP camps, the people continue to choose life and joy over despair: schools spring up in the IDP camps, families turn out for GLC programs full of dancing and singing, and, in one camp, a women’s soccer tournament was organized.

Still, the war in Karenni State is unabated and is being fought around the abandoned homes and in the city streets of Loikaw, Pekon, and Demoso. The Burma Army’s use of attack planes and helicopters, and mortar attacks, has left large portions of the cities destroyed. The civilian population has largely abandoned these cities and now lives in IDP camps or has moved to more rural villages. Life in the IDP camp means leaving self-sufficiency behind for reliance on outside aid because people are forced to leave fields, livestock, stores, and shops behind. This choice causes some to wait until it is absolutely necessary to flee to the IDP camps. Once in the camp, the IDPs will return to their village to gather things they need. Both the delayed fleeing and returning home for supplies can bring civilians into contact with the Burma Army, which routinely shoots on sight. In this report, the Karenni Ranger team documents nine incidents in which the Burma Army attacked civilians. The Ranger team reported the deaths of five adults and three children and the injuries of 26 people, all civilians. The use of landmines is prevalent and unexploded mines laid by both sides result in the death of children and adults. The Burma Army continues to arrest anyone they believe has ties to the resistance. An association with the resistance can lead to disappearance or execution. Three people the Burma Army suspected had ties to the resistance were sentenced to death in August.

The Burma Army has uprooted and displaced the communities of Karenni State. The Karenni Rangers work hard with the displaced people to foster a sense of community by supporting local churches, and community centers and even organizing soccer tournaments. The Karenni Rangers completed more than 13 Good Life Club (GLC) Programs during August and September, which reached approximately 5,887 internally displaced people in Karenni State. These programs are accompanied by medical clinics for IDPs. The Rangers also use this time to evaluate the medical needs of the displaced in the camp and distribute school support to teachers who attend the programs. On 31 August 2022, the Karenni Ranger teams distributed 27 units of medical supplies among the different ranger teams. Each team will be responsible for delivering the supplies to those in need in their area. Many Rangers are themselves displaced and their families are IDPs, and yet they continue to execute the Ranger mission to help the people and get the news out.

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