Five-Year-Old IDP Wounded in Armed Conflict, Hospitalized in Lashio

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The child was injured by shrapnel after shells landed in his village.

A five-year-old boy was transferred to a Lashio hospital on Wednesday after being hit in the head by shrapnel during clashes in northern Shan State earlier this week.

The child, identified as Mai Awng Kham, was injured on March 4 after fighting broke out near his village of Loi Nguen between the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army and joint forces belonging to the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army. Shells reportedly landed in the village, damaging homes.

More than 600 people subsequently fled Loi Nguen and sought refuge in a monastery in the nearby village of Mangli, including Mai Awng Kham, his grandmother, mother and infant sibling.

According to Mangli villager Mai Sai, who works with Volunteers Without Borders, the boy was at the monastery for two days before the organization sent him to Lashio for further treatment.

“I came with the volunteer group to help him as a translator,” Mai Sai explained, pointing out that both he and Mai Awng Kham are ethnic Ta’ang.

Loi Nguen is home to both Ta’ang and Shan families. Military tension in the area remains high, so villagers who left have not yet returned. There are currently 2,400 internally displaced people (IDPs) in northern Shan State’s Hsipaw Township in need of food and other emergency assistance.

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