Monday, October 2, 2023

Shelling Between EAOs Destroys Homes in Shan State

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Twenty-eight homes burned down during fighting between rival ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) in northern Shan State where violence has displaced nearly a thousand civilians since the end of March.

Manli 1

Sixteen residences burned down on April 4 during hostilities between Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and combined forces: Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). Twelve were destroyed by shelling on March 29.

A resident from Pan Lon village, located in Namtu Township, couldn’t say which of the EAOs were responsible for the shells that destroyed the homes in his village.

A man who is knowledgeable about the situation told SHAN that everyone from the village has fled. “Some people are not aware their homes burned down, while others know but haven’t returned to see what they lost.”

On March 29, a woman from Pan Lon was injured from shrapnel after a shell exploded in her village. She is receiving medical care at Lashio Public Hospital.

On April 6, heavy fighting destroyed three homes in Mang Li village at about 3pm. RCSS troops arrived in the morning and told everyone to flee, a resident said. Despite the warning, he said a few homeowners stayed in the village to protect their property. But after the shell attack, everyone sought refuge from the fighting in the town of Hsipaw. “No one’s left in our village…RCSS soldiers are stationed inside the village and SSPP and TNLA troops are deployed outside it.”

“I don’t understand why the EAOs are fighting each other,” a middle-age resident from Mang Li told SHAN. “They should consider the people. We can’t work on our farms. Without rice in our hands, we have nothing left.”

Civilians uprooted by the conflict need basic supplies like rice, oil and salt, said a man who is assisting them in Namtu Township. But no one is coming to help them. Instead, they are relying on the generosity of other villagers to feed them. Most of them are elderly, women and children.

Civil society organizations (CSOs) told SHAN that fighting is hurting the local economy, already devastated by the pandemic.

“We are very upset about the conflict between EAOs,” said a man from a CSO. “We want those who are responsible to understand the losses incurred by civilians.”
During the violence in northern Shan State, at least five were killed and ten people wounded since the middle of February.
SHAN attempted to reach the spokespersons for the EAOs for their comments, but no one responded.

IDPs at Numtu Township
IDPs at Numtu Township

The fighting has made travel difficult between Namtu, Hsipaw, Kyaukme townships.

Locals told SHAN the Burma Army is sending reinforcements to protect China’s Shwe Gas Pipeline, which passes through Hsipaw and Namtu townships.

On April 1, two shells landed near the Electric Power Cooperation (EPC) office near Mang San village, Namtu Township, at around 8:00pm. A man from the area said a shell damaged an EPC apartment occupied by Burma Army soldiers, although no one was inside when the attack happened.

On April 2, in Lashio, a recruitment office for the Burma Army was attacked with a homemade grenade. According to an eye witness, a man on a motorbike threw the bomb at the No. 4 Military Recruitment office, located in Ward 1, at around 12:30pm. It exploded on the ground and no one was injured. Grenades were also thrown at a police camp near the Administration Office in Ward 5, the home of a retired military officer in Ward 1 and a police guesthouse in Ward 4.

On April 5, in Muse Township, a man threw a grenade at a motorbike repair shop in Fai Kyawng village and then shot at the business. Although no one was hurt, the building sustained damages, according to a man from the area.

In the town of Muse, bombs have been exploding almost every night after 8pm, when curfew begins.

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