Free Burma Rangers Publications
1 July 2018
Free Burma Rangers celebrates 20 years with the 2017 Annual Report, expanding aid to address victims of ISIS in Mosul as well as to the suffering and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya and ethnic Burmese in Kachin, Ta’ang and northern Shan.
The Report opens by paying homage to those who were injured and lost their lives fighting against oppressive attacks in Iraq by ISIS, like the Iraqi team’s translator, Shaheen. Shaheen was shot helping families who themselves had been shot by ISIS. He survived the evacuation and multiple surgeries but, 10 days after he was wounded, he died of a sudden infection. His death was tragic but his sacrifice enabled others to live.
There are also success stories, like the rescue of Rahab, a 17-year-old girls who was trapped in a building destroyed by Mosul fighting. Two of her brothers were killed while the rest of her family escaped, telling the Iraqi Army about their trapped daughter.
Iraqi Army commanders put together a force that, in addition to soldiers, included Dave and Zau Seng of the FBR team, and Iraqi firemen with special extraction equipment from Baghdad.
Back in Burma’s Kachin State, heavy gunfire started early in June causing about 3,000 villagers to be displaced as they fled to the jungle for safety.
The FBR sent a relief team with food, medicine and tarpaulins for shelter. The mission lasted a week before supplies and funding were exhausted. Rangers were able to bring in medicine and money in December to help displaced people living outside of Dani Town.
In Karen State, 2017 saw many villagers who had been displaced since 2006 or earlier begin moving back to the area between Ler Mu Plaw and Kay Pu. But despite hopes to stay, 14 villages were forced to flee again when the Burma Army troop build-ups, began shooting at villagers and killing livestock in February 2018.
On August 25, 2017, the military alleged another series of attacks on several posts in Arakan State against the Rohinga. Some 700,000 Rohingya people have fled into Bangladesh where they entered refugee camps in one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. Kutapalong, a megacamp, now has a population over 500,000 people.
Read the annual report here.