People’s Militia Force Attacks Nam Mun, Prompting Local Exodus

By Network Media Group
Monday, January 29, 2024

Civilians have been forced to flee Nam Mun after a People’s Militia Force (PMF), aligned with the military regime and named after the town, indiscriminately shelled the Indawgyi Lake area in Kachin State.

“I heard the sound of artillery shells being fired around 3 pm,” a resident said. PMF soldiers are shelling and firing their rifles around the town in Mohnyin District where there’s no fighting, she said. People are too afraid to leave their homes, the woman said.

The Nam Mun PMF, referred to by locals as the Shanni PMF, has been shelling Nam Mun since January 21. An officer with Indawgyi People’s Defence Force said that they attacked the group with a drone and artillery on January 23 because their soldiers were arresting and extorting civilians. He said although the fighting has been minimal, most people have left the town where the two sides are facing off, pointing out that heavy fighting hasn’t started yet.

The woman said, “Many people are leaving Nam Mun—I fled to Mong Nawng yesterday.” The route she took between the towns was devoid of other travellers. Many people escaped from Nam Mun from January 22-25. Although most are heading for Mong Nawng, others are hiding in the jungles.

Some people told NMG that they were worried about their safety but afraid to return to their homes.

A Nam Mun man who also left said some people were hiding in their rice fields. Those with motorcycles have to go to safer ground. “We will return home when the situation is better,” he told NMG.

There are also rumours of the Kachin Region People’s Defence Force (KPDF) forcibly recruiting local youths near the town. But at press time, it was unclear if it was them or another armed group. Both Kachin and Shanni nationalities live in Nam Mun.

The Kachin Independence Army and KPDF frequently clash with the Nam Mun PMF in the area.