Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Fighting Breaks out in Panglng Township

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Local People’s Defense Force (PDF) engaged in armed clashes with junta and Pa-O People’s Militia Force (Pa-O PMF) troops after they occupied buildings in Panglong Township, according to local sources.

Since 6 March, junta and Pa-O PMF (also known as the PNA PMF) troops have occupied a school building and a Buddhist monastery in Bamauk village of Panglong Township in the Pa-O Self-administered Zone.

After the junta and Pa-O PMF arrived in Bamauk village, military tensions began to rise. On 10 March, fighting broke out between the junta and Pa-O PMF forces and local PDFs in nearby Nam Hper Mu village.

“Some villagers fled to take shelter in their relative’s homes in Panglong town. Some villagers took shelter at Buddhist monasteries in other villages. I think fighting is likely to escalate in the area,” a local man, who lives in Pinlaung Township and spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons, told SHAN.

When the clashes broke out, more than 3,000 IDPs who had taken shelter in Nam Hper Mu, Kon Paw, Bamauk, Nawng Woe and Kar Ra villages were displaced for a second time.

SHAN repeatedly called spokespersons of the Inle PDF and the Pekon PDF for their comment regarding the clashes in Panglong Township, but they did not respond before publication.

Another local man, aged 30 and a resident of Pinlaung town, said that the Pa-O PMF suggested local people not travel in Panglong Township because armed clashes would continue to escalate.

“The PNO/PNA (PMF) told local people to not travel in Panglong Township or travel to Taunggyi town after students take their matriculation exams. The PMF also suggested local people not leave homes. They told us that fighting would escalate in this area,” the 30-year-old Panglaung resident told SHAN.

In March 2023, a combined force of PDF troops engaged in a gun fight with junta soldiers in Nam Neing village of Panglong Township. Many civilian houses were burned during the clash. The junta committed mass killing in Nam Neing village in 2023. Local people are worried about their safety.

“When fighting breaks out, I am sure that we will face food supply shortages. At the moment, the cost of food has drastically increased and it’s really difficult to buy food. junta soldiers at military checkpoints have not allowed people to transport rice, cooking oil, salt, medicine or fuel. This makes life difficult for local people,” the 30-year-old Panglong resident told SHAN.

On 8 March, the Inle PDF released a statement recommending that local people not engage in fishing or travel by boat in the Beluu stream at night. The risk of more armed clashes remains high in the area between Pekon and Panglong Townships.

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