Five Civilians Injured in One Day by Shelling in Northern Shan State


Monday, October 14, 2019

At least five locals were injured by the firing of artillery shells during fighting between the Burma Army and members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups in Hsenwi and Kutkai townships in northern Shan State on Friday.

Two civilians were wounded when a shell hit their house in Hsenwi town at around 5:00 a.m. on October 11. That same afternoon, in Mang Awng village in Kutkai, three people were injured when a shell landed and exploded in the community.

Sai Oo Kham, a parliamentarian for Hsenwi Township, told NMG that those injured in the town were an ethnic Lisu couple living in Ward 3.

“Shrapnel hit them… the wife got injuries to her elbow and the husband got injuries to his legs,” he explained, adding that the man’s injuries were “quite critical” and required care beyond what was available in Hsenwi, including a possible operation. They are receiving treatment at Lashio public hospital.

Mai Mai, an aid worker with the Humanitarian Strategic Team – Northern Shan State, said that the shell that injured three people in the Kutkai village of Mang Awng landed at around 4:00 p.m. on Friday.

“A woman and a child received medical treatment in the [Kutkai] hospital even though their injuries are minor. The other person didn’t need to receive medical treatment at the hospital,” Mai Mai told NMG.

The Burma Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) fought in Hsenwi town on October 9, where the government forces have a military convoy that was reportedly ambushed by the TNLA. At least seven civilians were injured in the clashes, and two Burma Army soldiers were killed, according to locals and MPs.

Military tension remains high in northern Shan State between the Burma Army and the three members of the Northern Alliance that have been operating as joint forces: the TNLA, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Arakan Army (AA).

Hsenwi parliamentarian Sai Oo Kham warned people to proceed with caution when traveling to the region.

“If people want to go along the national highway, they should be on alert including in the Kutkai area. Clashes can occur at any time,” he told NMG.

The MP added that the armies should adhere to their unilateral ceasefire declarations and hold meetings to solve their problems through dialogue.

Fighting in northern Shan State has intensified, particularly along the Mandalay-Muse highway, since mid-August. On August 15, the AA, MNDAA and TNLA launched coordinated attacks on military and police targets, including the Defense Services Technological Academy in Pyin Oo Lwin, in what they announced was a counter-offensive to Burma Army attacks.

In the fighting that has followed in northern Shan State, civil society organizations say that at least 14 locals have been killed and 18 injured.