Saturday, June 22, 2024

Civilians Bear the Brunt of Shelling in Northern Shan State

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A Buddhist monk and a woman were injured from shrapnel from shelling in two villages in Kyaukme Township during fighting in northern Shan State.

“A shell hit a Buddhist monastery when the monk was sleeping on his bed,” said a man with the Nam Khong volunteer team. Shrapnel entered the man’s body in three places in his legs and hands. Volunteers picked him up in Nam Hu after he was injured at about 11 am on November 26.

The next day, in the morning, Nang Moom Hsai (27) was wounded by a shell in Loi Khaw. The volunteer said his team brought her to the hospital in Kyaukme after villagers called them.

A 40-year-old man from Kyaukme town said, “SAC (State Administration Council) is shelling civilian villages…even though there’s no clashes in the area.” He said people are getting hurt and “we’re worried about our safety.” Not to mention, villagers are constantly forced to flee their homes when the shelling starts, and homes are being destroyed, he explained. “I do not want to see any more properties damaged and civilian casualties.”

As there are many armed groups in the township, fighting is frequent and SAC fires artillery or flies airstrikes against the groups it’s fighting, and many of these bombs land in areas where civilians live. Another problem is landmines. All of the armed groups are planting concealed explosives, which have maimed and killed many people.

On Sunday evening, a man was killed by shrapnel fired by shelling during fighting between Three Brotherhood Alliance and SAC near what’s locally called the 105-mile trade zone in Muse Township. The shelling also damaged his car and many lorries, houses, and shops in the area.

Fighting between the groups was fierce on Sunday until Monday, a local source requesting anonymity said. He said SAC jet fighters attacked at least three times. “We heard the sound of heavy weapons firing from 7 pm on November 26 to 2 am on November 27.”

Ta’ang National Liberation Army, which is part of the alliance, has been involved in intense clashes with SAC in Namkham, the next township over. There were many civilian casualties after jet fighters attacked the Ta’ang group.

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