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Heavy Shelling during Renewed Burma Army Offensive Causes Civilian Deaths and Further Displacement of Hundreds in Central Shan State

By Shan Human Rights Foundation  •  October 10, 2014

Burma Army operations against the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (a.k.a Shan State Army-North or SSA-N) in central Shan State since early October have caused widespread damage, loss of civilian lives, and further displacement of hundreds of villagers in Ke township.

Between October 2-4, 2014, deploying a combined force of nine battalions with at least 2,000 troops, the Burma Army launched a renewed offensive against SSPP/SSA positions in Ke See. Hundreds of artillery shells (60, 81 and 120 mm) were fired, including at civilian targets. Two elderly villagers were killed and one severely injured. Two other village leaders were shot and killed on their way to market. Burma Army troops have also committed abuses such as beating and looting of villagers’ property.

The heavy shelling of the Ta Pasaung area caused several hundred villagers from Wan Ngoo Lerm to flee their homes. Shells also landed in Wan Warp village, where about 300 IDPs from Wan Pasaung have been sheltering for the past three months.

There has been a lull in the offensive since October 5, after the Burma Army seized several SSPP/SSA positions, but they are continuing to send truckloads of reinforcements to the area, and local residents fear renewed fighting at any time.

The Shan Human Rights Foundation strongly condemns this large scale military operation by the government’s army, which is not only causing widespread destruction and harm to local civilians, but also directly undermining trust in the peace process. SHRF urges the Burmese government to show sincerity towards the peace process by ending this offensive and immediately pulling back its troops from the SSPP/SSA areas.

Details of human rights abuses committed by the Burma Army during military operations in central Shan State (October 3-6 2014)

Mortar shell kills 53-year-old villager

On October 3, 2014, shells fired by the Burma Army landed in the village of Ngoo Lerm (close to the Tapasaung river crossing), in Ke See Township. A shell landed on the house of a 53-yearold man called Loong Waling Laeng, killing him instantly.

Shells also killed five cows, and caused extensive damage to the houses (worth 2,900,000 and 385,000 MMK each) of Sai Shwe Aung, and Loong Htoon in Ngoo Lerm village. All the villagers from Ngoo Lerm village (approximately 100 households) fled from their homes leaving their property behind.

Two villagers shot and killed on way to market in Murn Yai

On October 3, 2014, Burma Army troops shot and killed two men who were travelling to the market in Murng Yai. The two villagers were: Loong Mon, an ethnic Wa, and headman of Nam Pawng village; and Sai Swe, from Loi Murng Pard village, Tangyan township. Sai Shwe was formerly an officer in the local pro-government “Bo Mon” militia.

The two men were riding their motorcycles on the road from Wan Boong village to Murng Yai to buy buffaloes when they were shot at by Burmese troops near Loi Kio Jee. After they were killed, the Burmese troops set fire to the motorcycles.

Mortar shell kills 77-year-old villager, injures his son-in-law

On October 4, 2014, at 6 pm, the Burma Army fired shells at the village of Mark Hoo, Nawng Sawm tract, Murng Gao, Ke See township. An 77-year-old man called Loong Oo, who was trying to take shelter outside his house near his firewood pile, was hit by a shell and killed instantly. His son-in-law Sai Ya Jing was seriously wounded by shrapnel, and was admitted to hospital. Shrapnel damaged Loong Oo’s house and also injured one of his cows. An unexploded 60 mm shell was also found nearby.

Villager beaten with rifle butts

On October 4, 2014, an 18-year-old villager was beaten severely by Burma Army soldiers in Wan Hpaet. The soldiers were from Burma Army Regiment 22, stationed at the Wan Hpaet garrison. They had entered the village, and seeing the villager, Sai Maung Nu, had started beating him with their rifle butts for no reason. His mother, Ba Yong, begged him to stop, but they kept on beating him. Afterwards, they returned to their base.

Looting of villager’s property

On October 4, 2014, a group of about 30 Burma Army soldiers from the Wan Hpaet base entered Wan Hpaet village and looted the following possessions from the house of Loong Awn, aged 50: all his chickens; two televisions; a mobile phone; a suit of clothing.

Villagers forbidden from transporting food and basic supplies outside Tangyan town

On October 6, 2014, the Burma Army stationed at Tangyan gave the order that it was forbidden to sell batteries, candles, salt, seasoning powder, and cooking oil, and to transport these items outside the town.

Media contact:
Nang Kwarn Lake 66: (0) 93-297-7754 / 66: (0) 84-668-0984 (Burmese, English)
Ying Kawrn Noom 66: (0) 93-297-7754 / 66: (0) 93-047-8875 (Shan, English)

Download the full press release in English Burmese Shan here.

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