Update by the Shan Human Rights Foundation
May 9, 2023
SAC shelling and airstrikes kill four civilians and damage dozens of houses in Nawngkhio township, northern Shan State
During April 2023, after fighting broke out between SAC troops and the Mandalay People’s Defense Force (MDY-PDF) along the Pyin Oo Lwin-Mogok road in Nawngkhio township, the regime carried out repeated artillery and air attacks on local villages, killing four civilians – including two children – and damaging dozens of houses. Two village leaders were arrested by SAC troops, one with his spouse, and five villagers were injured by a landmine.
Fighting started on April 5 when SAC troops coming from the direction of Nawngkhio encountered the MDY-PDF in Than Po village. The SAC troops fired heavy weapons into the village, and that evening at 4 pm, one of the shells landed on a house, killing two children inside: Nang Ma Aye, 14 years old, and her brother Sai Wah Wah Win, 11 months old.
At 5 pm the same evening, SAC troops stationed at Yadana Theingi mining site fired about ten mortar shells into Kone Nyaung village, causing sugar cane in a nearby farm to catch fire. Some shrapnel also hit and injured a male vendor on the road.
On April 11 at 8 am, about 60 SAC troops arriving at Inn Ma village, Ho Kho (north) village tract, beat, arrested and took away the Inn Ma village headman and his wife, accusing them of supporting the PDF.
On April 11 at 8 pm, shrapnel from a SAC shell fired from Yadana Theingi into Than Po village hit and killed a 70-year-old man called Loong Candima.
On April 13, SAC troops arrested the Koong Hsa village tract chairman at his house. Until now, he has been held incommunicado in an unknown location.
Heavy fighting has taken place in the village tracts of Than Po, Kone Gyi and Ho Kho, as well as other villages in Nawngkhio township. Between April 6 and 20, the SAC launched over 30 airstrikes in the area, damaging nine houses in Kone Gyi village and twenty houses in Ho Khai village, and igniting a maize stockpile in Ho Khai worth about 20 million kyat.
On April 21 at 4 pm, SAC shells hit a house in Kard Lak Kwai (Kalagwe) village, killing a 52-year-old villager called U Chit Sein inside the house.
On April 29 at 11 am, five villagers from Nawng Khai village in Kone Gyi village tract were seriously injured when they stepped on a landmine on their way to tend their sugar-cane farm.
The military situation remains tense in northern Nawngkhio township, where SAC troops have set up camp in Than Po and Ho Khai villages. About 4,000 local villagers from the village tracts of Than Po, Kone Gyi, Pan Pwe and Doe Pin have fled their homes to take shelter in the towns of Nawngkhio, Kyaukme and Pyin Oo Lwin, mostly staying with relatives. Some have taken refuge in nearby village temples.
The SAC troops involved in this military operation are from IB 147, under the Northeastern Regional Command, and from IB 253 and IB 258, under Light Infantry Division 101 of the Central Regional Command.
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