Burma Army Fires Shell Into Northern Shan State Village, Killing One

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Recent fighting between the Burma Army and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) in Kyaukme Township in northern Shan State led to the government forces firing an artillery shell into a village, killing one civilian and seriously injuring another.

A member of the Nam Khong Social Volunteer Team told NMG that the shell hit Pan Kyan village on the morning of June 29.

“A man died. A woman, age 55, got injuries. She was transferred to the hospital. Another local man was beaten,” the team member said.

Lung Su, 56, was killed by shrapnel from the shell, the member said.

RCSS spokesperson Lt-Col Oum Khur said that the fighting with the Burma Army has occurred in Kyaukme since June 25, causing more than 200 villagers to flee to Kyaukme town for safety.

“These are not major clashes,” he told NMG.

Fighting broke out near Hai Kwee village on June 25, and again on June 27, and three times on June 28.

“The Hsipaw-based IB 23 fired into the village because they thought our troops were staying in the village,” Lt-Col Oum Khur said of Pan Kyan. He also said that in addition to IB (Infantry Battalion) 23, military columns from IBs 101, 256, 147, and 22 have had movement in the area.

The RCSS has described the clashes as part of a misunderstanding around their holding of an international anti-narcotics day event on June 26.

“Our Kyaukme liaison officer informed the Burma Army’s officials on June 24 that the RCSS would hold a ceremony to mark the international anti-narcotic day on June 26. The RCSS was going to destroy seized narcotics and illicit drugs in the event,” Lt-Col Oum Khur said. “RCSS troops were going to act as security guards [in preparation] for event on June 25. We already reported it to the Burma Army.”

However, he said that that the act led to an outbreak of fighting.

“We had clashes with IB 256 on June 25 because IB 256 came to patrol our area. So our Kyaukme liaison officer reported to Burma army again on June 25,” Lt-Col Oum Khur told NMG.

Therefore, the RCSS could successfully hold the event to mark the international anti-narcotic day on June 26 without any clash with Burma army. According to the RCSS, they had clashes with Burma army on June 27.

“On June 27, our security guard forces returned to their military base camp. We had minor clashes with them because their military column patrolled our territory. I don’t think it was a planned military operation. Their ground forces misunderstood what we were doing,” the RCSS spokesperson said.

He added that the government forces also reportedly threatened local people in the area not to attend the anti-narcotics day event organized by the RCSS.

“I think that the Burma Army doesn’t want to encourage us. That’s why they disturbed us,” Lt-Col Oum Khur said.

NMG tried to call the Tatmadaw True News Information Team for comment but received no response at the time of reporting.

The Burma Army and the RCSS also clashed in Hsipaw Township on June 10, as well as Monghsat in eastern Shan State on June 3.

The RCSS is among the ethnic armed organizations signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and military.