Ta’ang villagers in Mongkoe Township are fleeing their homes to save their children from forced recruitment by Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) troops, who’re fighting with the Burma Army (BA) in northern Shan State, a man said on condition of anonymity to SHAN.
“The majority of people in our village are ethnic Palaung (Ta’ang) and that’s why the TNLA has forced villagers to serve in their army. At the same time, the MNDAA is stationed here and they’re also kidnapping villagers, including children and girls,” the man from Pan Hsur Tai told SHAN. He said that almost everyone has fled the village. In addition, both armed groups have forced villagers from the surrounding villages of Loi Weing, Mang Kawng, Hpan Hper, Shouk Shwe Sin, Mang Hker and Nawng Wa to join them.
According to the source, many of the areas in Muse District targeted by the armed groups are remote and outside central control. Unlike other villagers who’ve been able to seek refuge in Mongkoe town, some villagers from Nawng Wa and Shouk Shwe Sin haven’t managed to flee from the soldiers, a resident of Shouk Shwe Sin, who also declined to give his name, told SHAN. He said armed groups had abducted a 12-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl.
Fighting between the MNDAA and BA takes place daily in the township, with frequent shelling of villages by the BA. Another anonymous villager from Pan Hsur Tai said that BA shelled the village because MNDAA soldiers live there, damaging houses and a Buddhist monastery. Even the monks have left the village, the source said.
The MNDAA and BA have been fighting in Mongkoe Township since July last year. According to volunteers, more than 800 villagers who’ve fled to Mongkoe are in urgent need of food aid.