Junta shelling injures 4, forces more than 1,000 to flee Kayin state town

Myanmar’s military was battling a powerful ethnic army in the eastern state.
By RFA Burmese
2023.02.21
Junta shelling injures 4, forces more than 1,000 to flee Kayin state town Houses damaged by shelling in Leiktho town, Thandaunggyi township, Kayin state on Feb. 21, 2023.
Citizen journalist

Myanmar’s military shelled residential areas of a town in Kayin state, injuring four civilians including a small child.

Tuesday’s battle between junta troops and the Karen National Liberation army led more than 1,000 residents of Leiktho in Thandaunggyi township to flee to safety.

The injured were identified as 50-year-old Aye Maung; two of his sons – both in their 20s – and his five-year-old grandson whose legs and hands were shredded by shrapnel.

Karen National Liberation Army forces, fighting with local People’s Defense Forces, triggered the battle when they attacked a junta checkpoint in the township’s Za Le village, KNLA members told RFA.

Junta Infantry Battalion 603 responded by firing heavy artillery from nearby hills, according to a resident who didn’t want to be named for safety reasons.

“Currently, the entry and exit of Leiktho [town] is blocked and most of the locals have fled,” the local told RFA.

“It’s estimated that more than a thousand people have fled. A church was damaged by heavy artillery and more than 10 houses were also damaged.”

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A church hit by a junta shell in Leiktho town, Thandaunggyi township, Kayin state on Feb. 21, 2023. Credit: Citizen journalist

RFA called the general administration department of Leiktho city to find out about the injured and fleeing residents, but there was no answer.

According to the United Nation Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) as of Feb. 17, more than 100,000 people in Kayin state had been left homeless due to fighting in the two years since the military coup. 

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