ICC Orphanage In Burma Attacked by Burmese Government Forces, Two IDP camps, 200 Children Affected
06 Jun 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C: June 5, 2009. International Christian Concern (ICC) has just learned that Burmese government forces attacked
two internally displaced people's camps along the Thai border last night in a heightened effort to defeat the Karen. According to our initial reports, there were at least 400 people who were being sheltered between the two camps, including 200 children. Deaths have been reported, but full details are still being confirmed.
Soldiers attacked the first camp during the middle of the night, crossed the river into Thailand, then returned and attacked the second camp from the Thai side of the border. ICC has received reports that all of the Karen soldiers who were guarding the children were killed. The children were trapped and could not flee into Burma because of landmines that were placed around their camp, so they were forced to attempt to swim the river into Thailand in the middle of the night. Many of the children were very small and could not swim, but initial reports indicate that most have survived.
ICC had recently finished construction of an orphanage (dorms, a school, and church building) in one of the camps that was attacked. In addition to the orphans, ICC had recently taken in another 60 persecuted and war-traumatized Karen children at the orphanage.
We are anxiously awaiting further news from our representatives on the ground who are in transit to the affected areas to assess the situation. The victims' immediate needs are rice, clothing, blankets, and sheets of plastic to help shelter them from the rain.
Because Thailand will sometimes send refugees back into the war zones they have fled, we would like to ask you to contact the Thai embassy in your own country, alert them to this situation, and politely request that they allow these refugees to be re-settled in Thailand.
ICC President Jeff King said, "This latest attack is part of the Burmese government's attempt at a final push at victory over the Karen people. The mode and brutality of these attacks is tragic yet unfortunately all too familiar. Rape and the killing of civilians and children seem to be their favorite methods of subduing the populace."
Please also pray for the protection of those affected. Because we know that the Burmese soldiers were already willing to go into Thailand and attack one of the camps from the Thai border, we are not confident that the children are safe where they currently are.
They are in urgent need of dry clothing and shelter as this is the rainy season in Burma and Thailand. If you would like to help with funds for these needs and others that may arise as we try and find the best solution for these children.