One Dead After Shell Lands in Lashio Village

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

According to locals from the village of Kon Hser in northern Shan State’s Lashio Township, a man was killed when after a shell hit the community on Sunday evening.

Lon Aye, age 50, died at the scene at around 8:00 p.m. His body was retrieved by the Pay Thaw Let social volunteer team on Monday.

“A shell landed in our village and killed a villager. Shrapnel hit him. He was killed on the spot. Now, we are going to cremate the dead body. CSOs (civil society organizations) also attended his funeral,” a local, who lives in Lashio, told NMG on Monday afternoon.

No one knows which armed organization fired the heavy weapon that killed Lon Aye.

More than 400 Kon Hser villagers and others living near the community fled the area and sought refuge in monasteries. The roads remain dangerous, and the site of clashes between the Burma Army and ethnic armed organizations, making it difficult to provide aid to the internally displaced people, social volunteer teams said. One Shan youth told NMG that locals were sharing their food with each other, adding, “it’s not good to travel at the moment.”

“Villagers are afraid to stay in their village. Almost all of the villagers are seeking refuge in monasteries. They all fled to Kon Hser monastery and Maiting monastery. Some villagers already arrived at Mangsu monastery in Lashio the day before yesterday,” the local source said.

Nearly 800 villagers from Tar Pon village and Aung Thitsa ward are staying at Mangsu monastery.

According to local people and CSOs, there are a total of more than 1,200 new internally displaced people (IDPs) in Lashio Township.

There are more than 800 IDPs in Hsenwi and Kutkai townships, as well, with thousands more trapped by clashes and military tension between the Burma Army and Northern Alliance ethnic armed forces.

Clashes are ongoing in many locations along the Mandalay-Muse national highway in northern Shan State after joint forces belonging to the Arakan Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army launched coordinated attacks on the Defense Services Technological Academy in Pyin Oo Lwin, and army and police camps in northern Shan State on August 15.

“They have launched airstrikes these days,” TNLA spokesperson Maj Mai Aik Kyaw told NMG, referring to the government forces. “The Burma Army’s military columns have taken some positions around the highway. At the same time, the joint forces have also taken some positions on the highway. Military tension is still high in the area.”

The continuation of clashes “depends on [the Burma Army’s] offensives,” Maj Mai Aik Kyaw said. “If there are many offensive operations, we have no choice but to defend ourselves. If a strong offensive comes, there will be more clashes in the area.”