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Human Shields and Leveled Homes in Northern Burma, April 2023

May 11th, 2023  •  Author:   Free Burma Rangers  •  18 minute read
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11 May 2023

Kachin State, Shan State, Sagaing Division, and Mandalay Division, Burma

Violence in northern Burma in April remains high as the Burma Army conducted offenses against civilian areas and used human shields to try to maintain control over roads and bases. The Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) and People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) fighting the junta regime continued solidifying their territorial control and contesting the Burma Army’s ability to maneuver in the ethnic areas.

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) reported a total of 76 military clashes during the month of April 2023 in the regions of Kachin, northern Shan, Sagaing, and Mandalay due to the Burma Army’s presence in this region. The amount of overall activity increased from the previous month’s 66 clashes. Of note, between April 5-10, Burma Army infantry battalions 10, 77, and 236 waged an offensive against the KIA defending villages in the vicinity of Si Thar along the Mandalay-Myitkyina NH43 highway in Shwegu Township. The Burma military launched air strikes, mortars, and ground attacks against the KIA forces. The Burma Army killed multiple civilians and destroyed houses in several villages (Si Tar, Si Maw, Man Wing, and Si Mu Le) during the fighting before retreating from the area on April 10th.

Apart from the 76 military clashes, the KIA recorded a total of 16 human rights abuses committed by Burma Army soldiers and their affiliates, including burning homes, killing civilians, destroying property, and extorting money. Of significance, the Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 11 of Light Infantry Division (LID) 33 and LIB 12 captured over 140 civilians from Maden Yang and Seng Hpra villages, Kachin State, to use as human shields. These incidents occurred between 18-25 April after LIB 11 had burned down three houses and murdered a civilian. The Burma Army forced the civilians to accompany them along roads and to their bases to attempt to mitigate attacks from the KIA and the PDF.

Incident locations on the map are approximated and clustered to depict high-activity areas. The information is limited to reports from Rangers and the Kachin Independence Army and does not represent the totality of military battles or human rights abuses in Burma.

Conflict-Related Incident Log Below:

Kachin State

Bhamo Township

On April 23, 2023, at 1100 hours, two 81mm mortar rounds were fired from Burma Army No.364 Artillery Unit Base to the area beside Yugyi village near U Ping bridge at an unknown target. The shells landed at Yugyi village, leaving two civilians, a social welfare volunteer and a minor, seriously wounded, in Bhamo Township.

On April 26, 2023, between 1810-1850 hours, KIA soldiers from 12th Battalion clashed with an estimated 60 combined Burma Army soldiers of over 160 from Infantry Battalion (IB) 236 and LIB (319) who had advanced from 7-Mile near 9-Mile, in Bhamo Township.

On April 30, 2023, at 1145 hours, three 120mm mortar rounds were fired from Bhamo Base to the area beside Lungja Bum, in Bhamo Township.

Hpakant Township

On April 1, 2023, between 0830-1830 hours, 15 combined forces of Burma Army stationed at Kamaing Byuha Base (Kamaing Tactical Base) and P.T.Ts (Pyi Thu Tsit) extorted Ks-150,000 per fuel truck at Lawa road intersection. Between 0930-1240 hours, around ten forces of P.T.Ts and LIB (12) stationed at Nam Ya extorted fuel transport vehicles and confiscated two cars at Nam Ya Checkpoint, in Hpakant township.

On April 5, 2023, between 1000-1020 hours, an estimated 70 Burma Army soldiers led by IB (42) Commander, Lt. Col. Lai Bwar Tun in three trucks coming from Ja Ra Yang were attacked with two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) along Nam Yak Hka by KIA soldiers from 31st Battalion, leaving four Burma Army soldiers dead and six others wounded. The Burma Army troops carried out checks on people passing by Maw Wan waterways and arrested ten civilians, in Hpakant Township.

On April 9, 2023, at 2020 hours, Burma Army soldiers from LID 33 in two cars came to Yoon Lett Tea Shop at Maw Wan village and arrested tea shop owner Ko Min Aung for alleged reason of supporting NLD and PDF, in Hpakant Township.

On April 12, 2023, at 0500 hours, U Ye Aung (aged 30) and Ma Tazin (aged 27) were slashed and killed by an unidentified group near the road to Chyauk Twi Tawng, Seng Tawng village, in Hpakant Township.

On April 24, 2023, at 0500 hours, soldiers from IB (76) and LIB (13) shot Kachin PDF (KPDF) Pvt. Aung Kyaw Myint and an unknown man dead at Mazup Yang village after being taken by the Burma Army in the weeks prior, in Hpakant Township.

On April 17, 2023, between 0500-0525 hours, KIA soldiers from 26th Battalion raided SNA outpost at Sezin Nam Dara village, in Hpakant Township.

On April 18, 2023, between 0800-0845 hours, there was a clash between KIA soldiers from 44th Battalion and Burma Army troops from LIB (11) at the cemetery at Gat Noi village, who had arrived from Nam Ya LIB (12) Base. Two Burma Army soldiers were killed and five others were wounded in the clash, in Hpakant Township.

On April 18, 2023, during clashes with KIA soldiers, Burma Army soldiers used 45 civilian human shields who were from Seng Hpra village and taken by trucks and vans to school and monastery areas in vicinity of LIB (12) Base. One civilian was killed and five were wounded as a result of the clashes.

Around April 21, 2023, the Burma Army fired five rounds of 81mm mortar, 120mm mortar and 122mm howitzer from Hpakant Tatma Kawng (Division Base) to the sides of Mawmau Bum and Taung Pyo in the morning, in Hpakant Township.

On April 21, 2023, at 0535 hours, around 80 Burma Army soldiers from LIB (11) under LID (33) entered Maden Yang (Maw Bung) Village through the Uru River and detained over 100 civilians at 0750 hours and tied their hands behind their backs. The troops also destroyed three houses at Maden Yang (Maw Bung) village, in Hpakant Township. Then, the civilians were taken as human shields to the area beside the Uru River by the Burma Army troops.

Burma Army captures civilians to use as human shields at Maden Yang Village.

Homes destroyed by the Burma Army at Maden Yang Village.

 

On April 21, 2023, at 0745 hours, one 81mm mortar round was fired from Burma Army’s Ginsi Base to the outskirts of Yung Cho village, in Hpakant Township.

On April 22, 2023, at 1820 hours, the Burma Army fired two 122mm howitzer rounds from Ginsi Base to the area beside KIA 6th Battalion HQ, in Hpakant Township.

On April 23, 2023, at 1610 hours, Burma Army soldiers stationed at Tang Gau Bum fired two rounds of 60mm mortar to the area beside Wara Hkahku, in Hpakant Township.

On April 23, 2023, between 0630-0705 hours, LIB (13) based at Lepin Base (Gunpowder Base) fired three 60mm mortar rounds to the behind of Maw Bung village; IB (76) stationed at Hpakant Tatma Kawng (Division Base) fired four rounds of 105mm howitzer to the areas beside Taw Maw and Lung Tsit.

On April 24, 2023, at 0500 hours, soldiers from IB (76) and LIB (13) detained KPDF Pvt. Aung Kyaw Myint and an unknown man from the road in front of Shwe Myanmar Fuel Shop, Mashi Kahtawng village, in Hpakant Township.

On April 25, 2023, at 0640 hours, there was a clash when an estimated 80 Burma Army soldiers from LIB (120) led by Lt. Col. Ze Yar Soe (along with 74 civilians) came from Ginsi Base were attacked by combined forces of KIA and KPDF, leaving around 15 Burma Army soldiers seriously wounded. At 1230 hours, KIA soldiers dropped a bomb from a drone on the Burma Army troops near Maw Bung school which wounded three Burma Army soldiers. At 1315 hours, the Burma Army troops reached their destination of Mazup Yang Prison, in Hpakant Township.

On April 25, 2023, LIB (120) led by Lt. Col Ze Yar Soe, stationed along Ginsi Byuha Tanyin Kawng (Ginsi Tactical Base), Tang Gau Bum and Ginsi Hkaw were relieved by LIB (11) led by Lt. Col. Than Hlaing. At 0540 hours, an estimated 80 Burma Army soldiers from LIB (120) led by Lt. Col. Ze Yar Soe moved out of the Base with the 74 civilians to use as human shields. The troops separated into two groups: one group went via the Ginsi KBC Worship Hill and another group went via Ginsi Anglican Church, in Hpakant Township.

On April 26, 2023, at 0500 hours, Jahtu Zup P.T.Ts under the command of Min Zin Tan in three cars reached Mr. Lahtaw Zau Seng’s cattle farm center behind the Wara Zup village cemetery, in Hpakant Township and took away his (Mr. Lahtaw Zaw Seng) 4WD, two phones, a firelock and mmks-20,000. The P.T.Ts asked his younger brother, Ma La to bow the head down and beat him with a rifle butt and set fire to cloths and blankets. The family could put out the flame in time after the P.T.Ts left.

On April 26, 2023, at 0930 hours, fifty of the 140 detainees held as human shields in Mazup Yang Prison were released by the Burma Army after supposed negotiations with village administrators and elderly villagers.

On April 27, 2023, at 1000 hours, an estimated 50 combined Burma Army soldiers of LIB (120) and IB (76) were positioned for security at every road and lanes intersections and arrested 63 civilians from Mazup Yang and Sanghka Seng Ra village and took them to 111 Company near Mazup Yang Prison at 1200 hours. After inquiring about PDF’s movement, all the detainees were released at 1400 hours.

On April 28, 2023, at 0545 hours, an estimated 20 Burma Army soldiers from IB (76) in two 4WD cars surrounded the house of Mr. Lahpai Brang Seng (Administrative Officer) and searched – at Yechyi Quarter, Maw Shan village, in Hpakant Township. The house was set on fire and a Landcruiser, a van car, a drone and an MA-4 rifle were seized and a man (house caretaker) was arrested by the troops. The house was where KPDF were allowed to live in.

On April 28, 2023, at 0600 hours, Burma Army troops allegedly surrounded and fired at a civilian-house at Hkasan Kawng block, near Uru Shayi Restaurant, Seng Tawng Maw Shan village. The house, which was thought to be the PDF Office, was destroyed and burned down by the troops, in Hpakant Township.

On April 28, 2023, KIA soldiers detonated IEDs against the Burma Army at two locations along Ra Hka in Hpakant Township.

On April 29, 2023, at 0200 hours, over 20 combined forces of Burma Army, Police and P.T.Ts on seven motorcycles and a Pajero carried out extensive checks within Seng Tawng and Yuma villages. On their way back, the military troops were attacked with an IED along Gwihka Hka by combined forces of KIA, militia and KPDF, leaving six Burma Army soldiers dead and three others seriously wounded, in Hpakant Township.

On April 30, 2023, at 0850 hours, while heading to Nam Mahpyit, Sawng Shing river intersection from Maland Dung, an estimated 40 Burma Army soldiers from IB (120) were attacked with an IED from KIA’s militiamen, leaving around ten Burma Army soldiers dead or injured.

Mohnyin Township

On April 2, 2023, at 0700 hours, four police in a car coming from Lungtung village, while collecting money from truckloads of fuel, were fired upon two rounds of grenade launcher by KIA soldiers from 26th Battalion, in Mohnyin Township.

On April 25, 2023, at 2030 hours, fighting broke out when combined forces of KIA’s militia and KPDF fired at Nam Ma Police Base, in Mohnyin Township.

Momauk Township

On April 12, 2023, 1050 hours, Burma Army soldiers stationed at Gawk Ngu Kawng and Udang Kawng fired four 60mm mortar rounds to the area beside Chyinghtawng Kawng, in Momauk Township.

On April 29, 2023, between 2050-2100 hours, five 81mm mortar rounds were fired from LIB (601) Base to Man Yawt, Mang Hkang Pa and Ga Sha Pa, in Momauk township.

Puta-O Township

On April 6, 2023, between 2130-2150 hours, combined forces of KPDF and KIA 7th Battalion clashed with Burma Army IB (137) along Lungga Hka Mahkrai (Lungga bridge) between Lungsha Yang village and Tan Ja village, in Puta-o Township.

Shwegu Township

On April 3, 2023, more than 80 Burma Army soldiers from IB (236) walking to Shwegu from We Ma, Chyauk Chyu – when being picked up by two trucks – were attacked with six remote mines along Ngabat Wa at 1830 hours.

On April 5, 2023, at 1220 hours, there was a clash between KIA soldiers from 12th Battalion and around 140 combined Burma Army soldiers of IBs (10, 77, 236) along the outskirts of Si Tar village. The Burma Army troops fired 60mm, 81mm, 79mm and 120mm rounds first and continued ground attacks, which defended by KIA soldiers. After the Burma Army troops retreated, between 1609-1750 hours, two jet fighters dropped bombs in five rounds and strafed the site. The shells landed at Man Wing village – Si Mu Le village, causing the houses of some residents caught fire and destroyed. Between 1810-1850 hours, the clash continued as the Burma Army troops attacked again. At 2013 hours, one jet dropped three bombs near Si Tar, in Shwegu Township.

On April 6, 2023, at 2015 hours, over twenty 120mm mortar rounds were fired from Nawng Hku Burma Army Artillery Unit (364) Base to the area beside KIA 5th Battalion area, in Shwegu Township.

On April 6, 2023, between 1455-1510 hours, four jet fighters dropped thirty-six bombs along Si Tar village – Tung Kawk village where KIA soldiers from 12th Battalion were present and between 1518-1755 hours, more than 100 combined Burma Army soldiers of IBs (10, 77, 236) carried out ground attacks, which defended by KIA soldiers. The fighting raged through Si Tar – Man Na village.

On April 6, At 1718 hours, two jet fighters dropped sixteen bombs at Si Tawng village, in Shwegu Township.

On April 7, 2023, between 1710-1850 hours, combined forces of KPDF and KIA soldiers between Si Tar– Man Hka defended the three separate attacks of around 100 combined Burma Army troops of IBs (10, 77, 236). During clashing, Burma Army soldiers from Si Moe Lay – Nat Lan – Man Wing fired 79mm, 81mm and 120 and Burma Army soldiers stationed at Si Tar village backed by 60mm mortar rounds to the site, in Shwegu Township.

On April 8, 2023, at 1030 hours, one jet fighter coming from Tada Oo dropped bombs in four rounds along Man Hka village where KIA soldiers from 12th Battalion were stationed and between 1040-1130 hours, fighting broke out when over 90 combined Burma Army troops of IBs (10,77, 236) in four separate ground columns raided the KIA positions. Between 1400-1500 hours, fighting continued as the combined Burma Army troops raided the KIA positions from five sides with supportive mortar fire from Nat Lan village, Si Moe Lay village and Man Wing village, leaving two KIA soldiers dead, in Shwegu Township.

On April 8, 2023, at 1030 hours, one jet fighter coming from Tada Oo dropped bombs in four rounds along Si Tawng village where KIA soldiers from 12th Battalion were stationed, in Shwegu Township.

On April 9, 2023, three jets dropped fifteen bombs at 0600 hours along Si Tawng village where KIA soldiers were positioned, and fired mortar shells and then more than 80 combined Burma Army soldiers continued attacking that KIA soldiers defended with IEDs, 60mm mortar rounds and dropping bombs by a drone.

On April 10, 2023, at 0930 hours, combined Burma Army troops of IBs (10, 77, 236) retreating from Si Tawng village and Man Hka set fire to and destroyed civilian houses at Si Maw village.

On April 11, KIA soldiers conducted search operations and found six unburied civilian bodies where approximately 160 Burma Army soldiers of IBs (10, 77, 236) had previously operated in vicinity of Si Tar – Man Na – Tung Kauk – Nget Tada – Man Wing – Si Maw – Nat Lan – Nawng Lat Gyi – Wun Wa villages. The Burma Army forces departed for Shwegu at 0330 hours on April 11th, in Shwegu Township.

On April 13, 2023, between 1120-1230 hours, KIA soldiers dropped two bombs from a drone at Burma Army soldiers guarding at a road intersection between Nga Oo Tada and the entrance to Katha, leaving three Burma Army soldiers dead and five others wounded, in Shwegu Township.

On April 15, 2023, at 1930 hours, four 120mm mortar rounds were fired from Namma Artillery Unit (367) to the east of Hupin and four rounds to the east of Namma, in Shwegu Township.

On April 22, 2023, at 0530 hours, over 80 Burma Army combined soldiers of IB (236) coming on foot from We Ma were attacked with two drone-bombs, dropped by KIA soldiers from 12th Battalion. The Burma Army troops reacted by firing 17 rounds of 81mm and 60mm mortar, in Shwegu Township.

On April 23, 2023, at 2045 hours, LIB (319) coming on foot from Nra Hka were attacked at a forestry camp near Zin Bung by KIA soldiers from 12th Battalion and the Burma Army troops fired mortar rounds nearby in retaliation, in Shwegu Township.

On April 27, 2023, between 0755-1920 hours, KIA soldiers from 12th Battalion defended the offensives from four sides of approximately 150 combined Burma Army soldiers from IB (236) and LIB (319) between 7-Mile and Ge Manai, in Shwegu Township. Three KIA soldiers were injured in the clash.

On April 28, 2023, between 0645-0930 hours, KIA soldiers from 12th Battalion defended an offensive of an estimated 70 combined Burma Army soldier of IB (236) and LIB (319) near Ge Manai village, in Shwegu Township.

Tanai Township

On April 12, 2023, KIA soldiers from 14th Battalion encountered an estimated 15 Burma Army soldiers of combined troops of IBs (297, 260) based at Nam Hkam village between 1755-1803 hours, when appearing along, in Tanai Township.

Waingmaw Township

On April 28, 2023, at 1950 hours, fighting broke out along Loili Hka when KIA soldiers from 11th Battalion fired at around 100 Burma Army soldiers of an unknown unit heading to Dumbung from Makawk Zup village, in Waingmaw Township.

Northern Shan State

Kyaukme Township

On April 7, 2023, between 0740-0820 hours, combined forces of KIA 34th Battalion and KPDF attacked Le Ji Base where an estimated 50 Burma Army soldiers from IB (44) were stationed, in Kyaukme Township.

Kutkai Township

On April 5, 2023, between 1320-1335 hours, there was a clash between Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) soldiers from 876th Battalion and Burma Army troops at Bang Da Maw village, in Kutkai Township.

On April 12, 2023, fifteen trucks carrying around 200 Burma Army soldiers under LID (99) and supplies coming from Sinli were attacked with one IED near Pa Ju crossroad by KIA soldiers from 17th Battalion, in Kutkai Township. The trucks reached Kutkai Byuha (Kutkai Tactical Base) between 1735-1808 hours.

On April 14, 2023, at 1520 hours, Burma Army soldiers stationed at Kutkai Byuha (Tactical Base) fired one 105mm howitzer round to the area beside Kung Hkyam Kaba. At 1225 hours, one round was fired again, in Kutkai Township.

On April 14, 2023, at 1520 hours, Burma Army soldiers stationed at Kutkai Byuha (Tactical Base) fired one 105mm howitzer round to the area beside Loi Chyuk Bum, in Kutkai Township.

On April 14, 2023, between 0855-0910 hours, KIA soldiers fired 23 rounds from grenade launchers at Kutkai IB (242) Base and Artillery Base. The Burma Army soldiers returned fire with 60mm mortar, 81mm mortar and all types of small arms, in Kutkai Township.

Lashio Township

On April 26, 2023, at 2310 hours, a jet fighter dropped a bomb at Namhkai Camp when Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) soldiers from 211th Battalion and KIA staff were present, that left three MNDAA soldiers wounded, in Lashio Township.

Mabein Township

On April 3, 2023, between 1710-1745 hours, KPDF defended an offensive of over 80 combined Burma Army soldiers of IB (276) and LIB (319) – at Hku Ta in Mabein Township.

On April 4, 2023, between 0600-0645 hours, combined forces of KPDF and KIA from 12th Battalion defended an offensive of over 70 combined Burma Army soldiers of IB (276) and LIB (319) – at Hku Ta, in Mabein Township. The Burma Army soldiers fired rounds at KIA soldiers until 0800 hours.

On April 17, 2023, KIA soldiers from 12th Battalion dropped two bombs from a drone at over 30 Burma Army soldiers from IB (78) taking security at Nga Oo Tada bridge at 1520 hours, leaving two Burma Army soldiers dead and four others seriously wounded, in Mabein Township.

Muse Township

On April 4, 2023, at 1430 hours, Mr. Zatang Dau Hkawng, on his way to Sinli from Maw Tawng was robbed Yuan-400,000.00 (four hundred thousand yuan), Ks-10,000,000/- (ten million kyats) and three mobile phones and shot in the thigh with a pistol by four unidentified men, in Muse Township.

On April 10, 2023, a cattle tender, Mr. La Ut coming from Mung Hawm was shot dead by LID (99) from Man Ja Base when he avoided the interception of the Burma Army, in Muse Township.

On April 15, 2023, between 0000-0020 hours, Burma Army soldiers stationed at Munggu Byuha Kawng (Tactical Base) fired one 105mm howitzer one to the area beside Nawng Hkam Bum, in Muse Township.

On April 16, 2023, between 2030-2130 hours, fighting broke out when PDF fired at Muse Police Station and Nova KTV, in Muse Township.

Namtu Township

On April 15, 2023, at 1930 hours, Burma Army soldiers stationed at Namdu LIB (324) Base fired one 105mm howitzer round to the area beside Man Chyam, in Namtu Township.

Sagaing Division

Katha Township

On April 23, 2023, between 1820-1910 hours, fighting broke out when over 80 combined Burma Army soldiers of IBs (77, 78) operating from Hpu Tar Aung appeared near Sin Gawn village where KIA soldiers from 12th Battalion were present, in Katha Township.

Mandalay Division

Mogoke Township

On April 25, 2023, between 0435-0450 hours, combined forces of KIA from 34th Battalion and KPDF attacked Mogok Police Station, which left six Burma Army soldiers dead, in Mogoke Township.

On April 26, 2023, between 1920-1930 hours, fighting broke out when combined forces of KIA and KPDF fired at an estimated 20 Burma Army soldiers of IB (71) positioned at Mogoke (Bamon) Buddhist monastery.

On April 29, 2023, between 1940-1950 hours, KPDF fired grenade launchers at the Mogok Electricity Office and the Burma Army soldier returned with small arms. The office caught fire, in Mogoke Township.

Thank you and God bless you,

Free Burma Rangers


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