Sunday, June 23, 2024

Fighting intensifies near the border of Panglong and Paikhun Townships

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In recent days the border area between Paikhun and Panglong (ပၢင်လွင်း) Townships in southern Shan State has been the site of intense armed clashes between Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) and a combined force of junta and Pa-O People’s Militia Force (also known as Pa-O National Organization/Army).

On 17 March, armed clashes broke out near Tawng Mae Thinn village of Loung Pyin village-tract in Panglong (ပၢင်လွင်း) Township, according to a local man, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

“Fighting broke out this morning. All people from Tawng Mae Thinn, Tawng Salon, Myauk Salon and Loung Pyin villages have fled the clashes and taken shelter in safer areas,” the local man told SHAN.

Due to the clashes, thousands of local people have been displaced. Some people have been displaced multiple times. The majority of displaced people have taken shelter elsewhere in Panglong (ပၢင်လွင်း) Township.

Junta force and Pa-O PMF troops have blocked all roads between Paikhun and Panglong (ပၢင်လွင်း) Townships.

On 17 March, the KNDF reported that clashes have been intense in the areas around Nawng Woe, Banmauk and Nam Hpa Mu near the border between Paikhun and Panglong (ပၢင်လွင်း) Townships. The KNDF suggested that local people not travel on land and water ways between the two townships.

In the first week of March, the junta deployed more troops in Banmauk, Mong Hpyet, Nam Hpa Mu and Soung Pyoung villages in southern Panglong (ပၢင်လွင်း) Township. Since 10 March, there have been escalating armed clashes between a combined force of Pa-O PMF and junta soldiers and resistance groups in the area.

“This area is close to Naypyitaw. If resistance groups control this area, they can threaten Naypyitaw. This is why the junta force has fiercely defended this area. I heard that the Pa-O PMF has suffered many causalities during the recent clashes. I do not know the exact number of causalities,” a military news source told SHAN.

SHAN has not been able to independently verify the number of casualties suffered by junta and resistance groups in recently clashes in the area.

Armed clashes have recently escalated in other parts of the Pa-O Self-administered Zone – consisting of Hopong, Hsihseng and Panglong (ပၢင်လွင်း) Townships in southern Shan State – which is not far from the military regime’s eastern military command headquarters.

On 16 March, a junta jet fighter dropped two 500 lb bombs on Kyauk Kasar village located at the base of Mae Nel mountain in Hopong Township. On 17 March, the Pa-O National Liberation Army (PNLA), the armed wing of the Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO), reported that the airstrikes destroyed at least four civilian houses in Kyauk Kasar village.

On 15 March, the junta launched airstrikes on Htam Yang village in Hsihseng Township. A combat aircraft dropped at least six 500 lb bombs as well as fire bombs on Htam Yang village. Multiple buildings including the Htam Yang Buddhist monastery and at least two civilian houses were damaged by the airstrikes.

“We heard the sound of huge explosions. People had already fled outside of the village. There were no PNLA soldiers in our village. The junta intentionally attacked our village,” a male IDP, who is originally from Htam Yang village in Hsihseng Township but had taken shelter near Kyauk Kasar village, told SHAN.

The PNLA reported that its troops had engaged in a fire fight with a junta military column patrolling in western Hsihseng Township on 15 March. At least two junta soldiers were killed during the clash.

At the moment, the PNLA remains in control of Hsihseng town. The junta has been launching daily airstrikes and artillery attacks on Hsihseng town. Many civilian houses and religious buildings in the town have been damaged by the junta attacks.

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