Five people were killed, including an eight-month old girl and an eight-year-old boy, when an artillery shell hit Maw Heik village in northern Shan State’s Kutkai Township on Saturday.
Dr. Win Win Myaing, who is in charge of the Kutkai public hospital, confirmed the deaths of the children, as well as of three women.
“Four bodies were transferred to the hospital. Another villager died in hospital,” the doctor said, adding that three more people were injured in the shelling. “Two injured people were transferred to the Lashio hospital. Only one injured person is still in Kutkai hospital.”
Fighting was ongoing around Kutkai town between the Burma Army and joint ethnic armed forces belonging to the Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) on August 31. It remains unknown which group fired the shell that killed the civilians.
“Clashes spread into the downtown area. Clashes occurred in downtown Kutkai today,” local woman Nang Nawng, who lives in Kutkai, told SHAN on Saturday. “The market, schools and houses were closed up. I heard the sounds of different kinds of weapons firing.”
Nang Nawng added that locals are afraid of the fighting spreading further into the town, which remains silent as more people seek refuge elsewhere.
Representatives from the Burmese government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center and the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups—including the AA, MNDAA, TNLA and the Kachin Independence Army—met for peace talks in a hotel in Kengtung, eastern Shan State on the same day as the fighting in Kutkai.