The pictures that prove the fighting in Burma is getting worse


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The Independent Online

I did not go to Burma to look for Swedish weapons. I went to remind people that there is still a war taking place in Burma and that in Kachin state the fighting is getting heavier and heavier.

There are more than 100,000 people living in what they call Internally Displaced Persons or IDP camps. It is a serious crisis which is getting little attention.

I have always had good contacts in Kachin. In the mid-1980s, with my wife and child,  I walked more than 1,200 miles through parts of Burma that were not controlled by the government. I spent half a year with the Kachin.

I was there again last year, writing about the refugee situation.  In Laiza, the capital of the area held by the Kachin Independence Army, someone told me they had found this new weapon. They showed me a picture. I was astonished. It had Swedish markings on it. They had thought it was German.

So I phoned up the manufacturer and emailed the photographs to them. They confirmed it was their product and that it was one of their latest models. They said that on the strength of the photograph they had contacted the relevant authorities in Sweden, who had launched an investigation. They said they were co-operating with that investigation. That was when I filed my article.

Bertil Lintner is a Swedish journalist based in Thailand