Civilians Injured, Displaced After Tatmadaw and TNLA Clash in Kutkai

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Two civilians were injured by a Tatmadaw artillery shell when the Burma Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) fought on Thursday and Friday in northern Shan State’s Kutkai Township.

The mother and daughter were hit by shrapnel from a shell on Thursday as fighting took place in Maw Harn village tract, between the communities of Nam Huay and Maru Hpetkar. They were transferred to Kutkai hospital the next day.

“The Burma Army attacked a TNLA base camp last night,” Seng Awng, of Maw Harn village, told NMG on Friday. “Burma Army troops based in Tarmohnye helped its military column by firing heavy weapons… shells landed in our village.”

The daughter, a student, endured injuries to her legs, and the mother suffered cuts on her head.

Some 60 people fled from their homes in the area when the clashes did not let up on Friday. Most are children, the elderly, and pregnant women, and are staying with relatives. They left Nam Huay and Maru Hpetkar and are staying in Maw Harn.

According to TNLA reports, they have had at least 10 clashes with government forces since three members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups—of which TNLA is one—declared a unilateral ceasefire on September 20. Three of these clashes occurred on Thursday, one in Namkham Township and two in Kutkai.

A Kutkai local said that the groups also clashed at the base of Loi Sam Sip—a mountain—and near the village of Mang Nawng in Kutkai on the morning of October 25.

“It lasted at least one hour. Both sides used assault rifles and heavy weapons in the clash,” the local told NMG.

The individual also said that the Mandalay-Muse national highway had been closed due to the fighting, but has since re-opened.

Those who have stayed in the area say that they cannot tend to their farms because of the fear that fighting might break out at any time.

The three members of the joint forces of the Northern Alliance that have been clashing with the Burma Army in northern Shan State are the TNLA, the Arakan Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.

They are also members of the negotiating bloc the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee.