As polls closed in the country’s general election yesterday, Burma Army soldiers shot two civilians—including one child—as they were leaving their paddy fields in southern Shan State, according to both the Shan Human Rights Foundation and a local man who witnessed the attack.
According Sai Hseng Na, a resident and bystander, the incident occurred near the village of Hoong Kham in Mong Nong sub-township, Kesi Township, at 4 p.m. while around 30 villagers were returning from farming their fields. The villagers allegedly had permission from local authorities to tend to their land, despite a Burma Army order that residents not venture out of the village.
The victims are confirmed as Pa Tem, age 55, and Sai Mon Parng, age 15. At the time of reporting, both were recovering in a local hospital in Taunggyi District. Sai Mon Parng was shot in the throat. It is not known in which part of her body Pa Tem was shot.
Sai Hor Hseng, a spokesperson for Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), described the incident as “extreme violence against innocent people.”
“The Burma military arbitrarily attacks civilians,” he said.
According to local sources, the Burma Army Battalion No. 286 is reportedly active in this part of Mong Nong.
Here in Kesi Township and in neighboring Mong Hsu, offensives by the Burma Army against the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N) have been ongoing since October 6. The conflict has displaced more than 6,000 people.
Civilians are often targeted by the Burma Army when they are suspected of being militants or supporters of non-state ethnic armies.
“The victim is an old woman,” said Sai Hor Hseng. “How can she be linked with any armed group?”
“The conflict must stop now,” he added. “If there is no fighting, our people will not suffer.”
Yesterday marked Burma’s first general election in 25 years. Voting was cancelled in Mong Nong and in the whole of Kesi Township by the Union Election Commission (UEC) on October 27, citing armed conflict as the reason for the annulment.
Warning: The images below are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers.
A 55-year-old woman and 15-year old boy are taken to a local hospital after being shot by Burma Army soldiers while leaving their farmland on November 8. (Photos: Tai Mao / Facebook)
By SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N)