Regime forces shelled Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) positions and drove hundreds of villagers from their homes in Namhsan Township, northern Shan State.
Volunteers told SHAN that nearly 600 residents from Mang Lon and Peing Lon took shelter from the violence in Namhsan town on 9 December, while some villagers from Mang Lon and Kon Tha and Hu Meng fled to Namtu and Lashio.
“I think more than 300 people are still trapped in their village and volunteers are trying to rescue them,” said one person who’s helping them on condition of anonymity. The civilians, mostly women and children, had arrived in the town empty-handed and in need of food and warm clothes and blankets to protect themselves from the freezing temperatures, he explained. Another Namhsan resident, who also requested anonymity, said the military was checking everyone’s phones at checkpoints set up in the town.
The regime’s air and ground forces have been attacking the TNLA camp in the township since 7 December. Last Thursday, the junta attacked with five fighter jets and artillery, with stray shells landing in Kon Tha, also spelled Koong Sar.
“Five civilian houses were burnt by the shelling and one villager was injured,” an anonymous source told SHAN. Ta’ang troops reportedly cornered regime fighters, forcing them to call in air support. “The TNLA knows the terrain in the area and was able to trap the soldiers until the military flew air strikes…Many civilians were trapped by the fighting.”
Observers suspect the regime has used the recent informal ceasefire negotiated with the TNLA’s ally, the Arakan Army, in Rakhine State to attack the Ta’ang armed group in northern Shan State.
SHAN has repeatedly reached out to TNLA spokesperson Brig-Gen Tar Bone Kyaw for comment but couldn’t reach him.