Update by the Shan Human Rights Foundation
July 27, 2022
Over 100 houses burned, 4,000 displaced by SAC scorched earth operation east of Moebye Lake, southern Shan State
Since mid-May 2022, SAC forces have carried out a scorched earth campaign along the eastern edge of Moebye Lake, in Pekhon (Paikhun) township, southern Shan State, burning down over 100 houses and displacing over 4,000 people from Loi Pao village tract in response to expanded PDF attacks,
On May 12, PDF forces from Pekhon attacked a SAC checkpoint (jointly manned by its milita ally the Pa-O National Organisation) at Htiri village in southern Nyaungshwe township, on the main road from Nyaungshwe to Moebye.
SAC responded by launching a clearance operation south along this road, deploying LIB 422 and PNO troops into Loi Pao village tract in Pekhon township, east of Moebye Lake. Clashes erupted with local PDF forces, and on May 15 the SAC launched airstrikes over the area. The over 4,000 inhabitants of Loi Pao tract fled in different directions, including north to Hsihseng, Pinlaung and Taunggyi, and south to Loikaw (Karenni State) and Thailand.
On May 16, fighting broke out between the SAC and PDF troops at Se Mee Law village, at the southeast end of the lake, and further reinforcements from ID 66 were deployed along the Moebye-Nyaungshwe road, including into Loi Pao tract.
On May 16 at 4 pm, SAC troops began torching the village of Hsawng Nam Kay in Loi Pao tract, even though there was no fighting there. The troops doused the houses with petrol before setting fire to them. By the morning, over 40 houses in the village had been burned down.
On May 17, at 11 pm, the SAC troops stationed in Loi Pao tract fired artillery shells indiscriminately at Loi Pan Sone village on an island in the Moebye Lake. The shells damaged Loi Pan Sone temple, school, and some houses. The shells also injured two villagers sheltering at the temple.
On May 20, after clashes between SAC and PDF forces in Nam Maw Long village, the SAC troops began torching houses in the village. However, due to heavy rain that evening, only three houses were burned.
The same night, the SAC troops torched houses in two nearby villages: Loi Pao and Nam Maw Soam. At least 15 houses were burned down.
On May 26, the SAC troops based on Loi Mong Ku Hill, east of Loi Pao tract, came down to Mark Khur Kham village and began setting fire to villagers’ houses at 7pm. Over 20 houses were burned down.
On June 3, the SAC troops went to Hla Hei village and set fire to over 20 houses. During this time, SAC troops also torched several houses in Koong Mark Lang village.
House ransacked by SAC troops in Loi Pao village
On June 21, SAC troops camped in Nam Maw Long village looted a motorcycle, fertilizer, and ploughing machine from the village, and torched three houses.
On June 22, at around 6 pm, the SAC troops set fire to two houses in Loi Pao village.
SAC troops remain camped in Loi Pao tract, so villagers dare not return home. The troops are staying in villagers’ houses, which they have ransacked as well as looted. They have also laid land mines around the villages and shot indiscriminately from Loi Mong Ku hill at civilians passing along the main road, so few dare use the road.
Most of the inhabitants of Loi Pao tract are Shan, who earn a livelihood from growing rice, corn and avocado, but have been unable to cultivate their fields this year.
Sai Hor Hseng +66: 94-728-6696 (Shan, English)
Sai San Loi +66: 88 680 4913 (Shan, Burmese)
Ying Leng Harn +66: 62 569 5220 (Shan, Burmese)