Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme Township said that they found artillery shells left behind by Burma Army soldiers after returning to their homes to check on their property.
The IDPs fled fighting between the Burma Army and the Restoration Council of Shan State between October 2 and 11. Since there were no clashes in the area on October 14 or 15, they went back to the villages of Pon Wow and Nam Hin on Thursday.
“Two shells were found this morning near an area for garbage. Nobody had come to check until now,” Nang Awng, who lives in Pon Wow village, told SHAN. “I think these shells are from the Burma Army because their soldiers stayed at the house. They left the house a few days ago.”
Nang Awng added that at the time of reporting, no one had come to dispose of the artillery shells.
Local man Lung Than Mawng said that an unexploded shell was also found in Nam Hin village.
“The bomb was found on the road in the village. It’s an unexploded bomb. The villagers are afraid of it,” he told SHAN.
Some 3,500 IDPs have not yet returned home, saying that they feel unsafe with Burmese soldiers still patrolling the area.
“Soldiers are staying in civilian houses. That’s why villagers are afraid to return home. There are no clashes in the area. If the Burma Army retreats from the area, locals can return to their villages. We are still worried about landmines,” Lung Than Mawng told SHAN.
IDPs who went to check on their homes said that their property had been looted by the soldiers, with personal goods stolen, and chicken and pigs slaughtered and eaten.