By Sai Hseng Hlaing
The Burma Army used combat helicopters to send reinforcements near Pong Woe Monastery, where hundreds of civilians displaced by the army’s offences in northern Shan State are sheltering.
The Tatmadaw’s North-East Command headquarters in Lashio sent soldiers and military equipment to Pong Woe village, located in Kyaukme Township, in four helicopters around 2:00 p.m. on October 10.
A woman from Pong Woe told SHAN the helicopters, which landed near the monastery, made two trips. Two carried soldiers and equipment, while others provided security. When the helicopters were taking off, soldiers on the ground opened fire on the village for five minutes, the source said, and then climbed a hill.
Over 700 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are taking refuge in the monastery.
Nang Awng, an IDP in Pon Wow, told SHAN she’s worried because tensions between Tatmadaw and the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) remain high. “We hear gunfire almost every day. We don’t want any more fighting in our area.”
Hostilities began on October 2, after Tatmadaw sent troops into an area controlled by RCSS/SSA.
To date, nearly 3,000 civilians have been displaced by the clashes. While some aid is available, fighting and travel restrictions in place during the pandemic make it challenging delivering aid.
Electoral candidates contesting the election, scheduled for November 8, say the conflict has prevented them from campaigning.