Monday, May 20, 2024

Civilian Casualties Rising During Clashes in Southern Shan State

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Airstrikes and artillery by the Military Council have resulted in the deaths and injuries of over hundred civilians since fighting broke out between the Pa’O National Liberation Army (PNLA) and the Junta troops in southern Shan State three months ago.

Among the casualties reported by the Pa’O Youth Organization (PYO) are 7 children aged between 6 months and 15 years. There were 43 males, 4 females, and 6 individuals of unspecified gender killed. Additionally, twelve children have sustained injuries during the attacks in the Pa’O Self-Administered Zone.

Over 70,000 people—52,000 in Hsihseng Township, 15,000 in Panglong (ပၢင်လွင်း) Township, over 1,000 in Hopong Township, and more than 2,100 in Nyaung Shwe Township—have been displaced, seeking refuge in the jungle, other locations within their townships, or in Taunggyi Township.

A member of PYO reported that four villages in Nyaung Shwe Township, housing many children and elderly residents, escaped artillery shelling, which the army has been conducting indiscriminately in the area since early April.

As resistance groups clashed with the Junta troops in the township, he stated that they assisted villagers from Nam Pun, Nyaung Lay Pin, De Yi, and Yay Pu in relocating to safer locations, while emphasizing their urgent need for food.

According to PYO, the Military Council has conducted 462 airstrikes and 2,846 shelling incidents up until April 16, resulting in damage or destruction to 552 houses, 25 religious buildings, 12 schools, 2 bridges, 4 hospitals and clinics, and a market.

The conflict between the PNLA and the Junta troops in southern Shan State flared up after the Pa’O People’s Militia Force, formerly known as the Pa’O National Organization, and regime soldiers attacked a PNLA convoy in San Hpu, Hopong Township, on January 21. This incident terminated the PNLA’s ceasefire, which had been inked prior to the coup.

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