Over 200 villagers from three villages in northern Shan State’s Hsipaw Township were trapped in a battle on May 19th after the Burma Army launched an offensive against the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA).
The Burma Army launched an offensive against the SSPP/SSA at 9 pm on May 18th. The offensive was paused at night but then continued again at 7 am on May 19th. Three combat helicopters were used in the attack on May 19th, according to an official from the SSPP/SSA.
Over 200 residents from Nartaung, Khonanpha and Kyaungmai villages were trapped inside a monastery in Kyaungmai village because of the clashes, according to local residents.
“There were four or five military columns from the Burma Army. They were entering one village after another. They stayed in the village and fired to the area outside the village using heavy weapons. The battle has been raging since yesterday [May 18th] till this morning [May 19th]. There are over 200 people in Wanmai monastery. We couldn’t take them out because of the Burmese soldiers. They didn’t allow [the residents] to leave the monastery,” said Nang Nguen, a 35-year-old woman who has been seeking refuge at Nampaung Ywama Gyi.
The 68th, 69th, and 291st Infantry Battalions and the 532nd Light Infantry Battalion (LIB-532) under the North Eastern Command are now active in the southeast of Hsipaw Township and they are being led by a tactical operations commander from Lashio.
According to an unconfirmed news report, political parties and social aid groups from Hsipaw have been attempting to bring the trapped residents to Hsipaw.
Thousands of local residents have fled from their homes in Kyaukme Township due to the offensive launched by the Burma Army against ethnic armed groups.