Life has become extremely difficult for large numbers of villagers in northern Shan state who have had to endure great hardship since April 10th when Burma's military launched an offensive against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The offensive which took place in parts of northern Shan state and southern Kachin state close to the Chinese border, involved more than 1,000 troops from Light Infantry Division 88, according to a recent report released by the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF).
Army troops “fired hundreds of shells to drive out the KIA, in the populated Shan farming area of Tung Loi Ho Hsur west of Namkham. The shelling caused civilian injury, and damaged temples, houses, vehicles and other property. The Burma Army troops also entered villages, looted food and livestock, and set fire to farmers’ crops, causing well over 1,000 Shan villagers from about 15 villages to flee to neighbouring towns in northern Shan State, as well as into China,” said the SHRF report which was released on June 5th.
According to SHRF most of the Shan villagers returned to their villages after about a week but there remains a heavy military presences in the area and this remains a major source of concern. “Since the April offensive, military security around Namkham has been tightened, with several incidents of Burmese troops shooting at innocent civilians. Five villagers have been shot and injured by soldiers guarding the Chinese gas pipeline west of Namkham” SHRF reported.
On May 29, soldiers from LID 88 opened fire and threw a grenade at a motorbike carrying a Shan villagers and his wife near a military checkpoint close to Namkham, according to SHRF. The women named A Htay from Nam Jarng village, Namkham township died as a result of her injuries the following day. According to SHRF the incident took place at Kong Vein village.
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