The charred remains of at least three bodies were found in the northern Shan State village of Woe Long in Kyaukme Township after a battle took place there between the Burma Army and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), according to Shan State Hluttaw MP Sai Tun Win who recently visited the area.
Two huts and a house belonging to local residents were also set on fire, according to Sai Tun Win, who represents Kyaukme for the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD).
Sai Tun Win, led a group that also included his fellow SNLD MP Sai Tun Nyan, who visited the villages on May 21st, a little more than a week after the clashes took place there on May 13th. The group found that At Ngee Village, Nam Pak Village, Pang Kaen Village and Woe Long Village received the most damage. Woe Long Village suffered particularly badly and it is difficult for the residents of Woe Long Village to return home from Pang Kaen Monastery, where they have taken shelter, said Sai Tun Win due to safety concerns.
“I went there [to Woe Long Village]. Two huts and a house have been burned down. The rest have been damaged. I found human charred remains. There were three bodies. Only the bones were left. We don’t know who set the house on fire,” explained Sai Tun Win.
Heavy fighting between the SSPP/SSA and the Burma Army broke out near Woe Long Village on May 13th. The clashes forced hundreds of local residents to flee to Nong Bing and Parng Lau villages.
It will be difficult to verify the identity of the the charred victims as little remains of their bodies. According to Sai Tun Win two people from the village have been reported missing after a headcount.
The majority of the villagers are still taking refuge at monastery and most of the houses in Woe Long have been ransacked, explained Sai Tun Win. The refugees are in serious need of food and other humanitarian aid the MP added.
In a follow up interview conducted with the Irrawaddy after SHAN’s interview with Sai Tun Win took place, he reported that an additional two more bodies were found in Woe Long village and 5 more bodies were found in another village identified as Nong Kwan. “We are sure of the identities of the three bodies from Nong Kwan. We still have to identify the other five. We plan to issue a report highlighting the human rights violations of the recent fighting. We’ll then talk with our party about what to do next,” Sai Tun Win was quoted as saying.
The Burma Army detained two residents from the Woe Long on May 12th one day before the fighting broke out. SHAN has learned they were released four days later, with large bruise marks on their bodies.