Porters used as human shields in anti-KNF military operation in Ruma, 1 killed

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Hill Voice, 18 May 2023, Bandarban: It has been alleged that the army are using unarmed innocent Jumma porters as human shields during anti-KNF operations in Ruma, Thanchi and Rowanchari in Bandarban district.

As a result of this use of Jumma porters as human shields, a Tripura porter was killed and several others were injured in explosion of a landmine planted by the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF).

According to local sources, after two army soldiers were killed and three others were injured in the KNF ambush last Tuesday (May 16), the army have been taking ordinary Jumma villagers as porters from various villages of Ruma, Thanchi and Rowangchari upazilas and using them as human shields in the operation/war. So far, more than 100 Jumma villagers are reported to have been taken by the army as porters.

It is also known that yesterday 17 May 2023, a group of the army conducted a military operation in Remakri Prangsa Union of Ruma Upazila. Meanwhile, the army forced several Jumma villagers of Remakri Prangsa Union to accompany them as porters for carrying goods and for various tasks and forced them to be at the forefront of the operation to be used as human shields.

At one stage of the army operation, around 3 pm, when the army reached the foot of a hill adjacent to Saloupi Para of Remakri Prangsa Union, a mine suddenly exploded. At that time two Jumma porters and an army man were seriously injured.

The name of the injured Jumma porters are Jewel Tripura (26), son of Guliha Tripura, Village- Basiram Para, Ward No. 9, No.3 Remakri-Prangsa Union, Ruma Upazila and Abraham Tripura (29), son of Sachindra Tripura, Village-Basiram Para, Ward No. 9, No.3 Remakri-Prangsa Union, Ruma Upazila; and the injured army personnel is Lance Corporal Md. Aminul Islam, 5 EBR, Bandarban Sadar Army Zone.

Then the injured 3 people were first taken to Thanchi Upazila Health Complex. Meanwhile, a doctor on duty at the health complex declared Jewel Tripura, who was seriously injured, dead. On the other hand, Abraham Tripura, who was seriously injured, was also taken to Bandarban Sadar Hospital on doctor’s advice. The injured army personnel Lance Corporal Md Aminul Islam was taken to Bandarban Cantonment Military Hospital.

Meanwhile, a villager who did not want to be named said that the army are responsible for the death of Jewel Tripura and the injury of Abraham Tripura. The army forcibly took them into military operations to use them as human shields those who have no training and are not properly paid.

Eminent human rights activist Priti Bindu Chakma said that according to international law, using unarmed and innocent people as human shields in military operations or war is considered a crime against humanity. On the other hand, according to the Geneva Declaration, landmines are prohibited in any war. Because unarmed innocent people have suffered losses. Therefore, the indiscriminate planting of mines by the army-created and Islamic militant-backed KNF is also a serious crime according to the Geneva Declaration.

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