Fighting flares near state capital in north Myanmar

Junta shelling killed 1 man and injured 7 family members, Kachin state residents said.
By RFA Burmese
2024.06.11
Fighting flares near state capital in north Myanmar A civilian wounded in shelling in Kachin state arrives at hospital in Myitkyina on June 10.
Mon Myat Say Ta Na/social assistance association

Junta troops fired artillery into a village in northern Myanmar, killing a man and wounding seven relatives, residents told Radio Free Asia on Tuesday, as ethnic minority guerrillas in the area near the capital of resource-rich Kachin state said they made advances.

The shelling took place on Monday night in Waingmaw township, where fighting between Kachin Independence Army insurgents and the military intensified in late May.  

One shell hit a home in Hkat Shu village, killing Aung Kyaw Soe, 27, and wounding seven members of his family, a resident, who declined to be identified due to security fears, told RFA.

“His family was having dinner when the shell dropped right next to the kitchen,” he said. “Two shells fell on the village, one in that house and the other not far away.”

The wounded included four women and three men between the ages of 25 and 62. Four were taken to hospital in the nearby state capital Myitkyina, residents said.

Six people including children were killed in shelling of the same village on May 20 and 21. Nineteen people were wounded at that time, residents said. 

The junta has not released any information on the latest shelling or on casualties. RFA telephoned Moe Min Thein, a military council spokesman for the state, but calls went unanswered.

Fighting between the military and fighters from the Kachin Independence Army, one of Myanmar’s most powerful insurgent forces which is seeking self-determination for the Kachin people, has increased in recent weeks in the area about 20 km (12 miles) south of Myitkyina.

Setbacks

Forces of the junta, which seized power in an early 2021 coup, have faced setbacks in several parts of the country since late last year when allied forces battling to end military rule went on the offensive.

The Kachin force said in March it had captured 40 junta bases across Waingmaw and Momauk townships. By May, it seized a camp only 20 km (12 miles) from Myitkyina in addition to a large part of a major route for trade with China and areas on the border. 

The KIA seized two more camps in Waingmaw and Tanai townships on Monday and Tuesday taking their tally to 100 junta-occupied bases across the state, the group’s information officer, Col. Naw Bu, told RFA.

The two newly captured camps are on a border road that controls access to amber and gold mines in Tanai township, he said. 

“A camp on the side of an amber and gold mine in Tanai township was captured yesterday and another at Bum Taung, on the way to Sa Done town, was captured this morning,” he said on Tuesday.

The KIA has not released any information on casualties for either side in  the two-day battle. 

According to data compiled by RFA, a total of 1,942 civilians were killed and 3,866 were injured by junta airstrikes and heavy weapons since the 2021 coup. 

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan. 

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