A Major Military Campaign Underway in Northern Shan State as Changes Taking Place in Lower Burma

(Photo: PSLF/ TNLA)

Since the beginning of the first week of March, Burmese army troops escalated their presence in villages across northern Shan State. Villagers in Kutkai, Theinni, Nam San, Kyauk Me, Nam Kham, and Muse townships have been summoned and indiscriminately interrogated by Burmese army troops.

According to ground reports, over 3000 Burmese army soldiers from 11th, 33rd, 66th, 77th, 88th, 99th Light Infantry Divisions have been deployed in northern Shan State since the last week of February.

Local sources in northern Shan State said Burmese army launched a major military campaign called “Moe Pyan Operation”, translated as Operation Flying Sky, beginning early March. The latest military campaign in northern Shan State targeted houses, community buildings, and especially local civilians believed to have links with ethnic armed forces.

Hpawmai Naw, a 30-year-old villager, from Wamu village in Mungya area was shot dead by Burmese army troops under 99th Light Infantry Division on March 15. A family member of Hpawmai Naw said the body was found on March 18 and buried him on the same day.

Burmese army soldiers under 11th Light Infantry Division (LID) ransacked a local Christian minister house in Nam Hkai (Hwi Dawng) village on March 17 saying that they were searching for information related to KIA and ethnic armed forces. The soldiers took away the minister’s laptop.

Na Leng villagers in Kutkai Township had been summoned at the village’s Catholic church and interrogated by Burmese army troops under suspicion of being KIA supporters and having connection to ethnic armed forces on March 17 at around 4:30 pm. Villagers from Gat Pa village had been interrogated in a similar manner on the same day at around 7 pm.

Burmese army troops under 66th Light Infantry Division detained a baptist minister and 35 villagers at the village monastery and interrogated them in Manje village in Kutkai Township on March 18. A student from Kachin Theological College who was volunteering the village church was among those being interrogated by 66th LID troops. 66th LID soldiers forced village elders to sign a paper that said Manje village is clear of any rebel connection.

66th LID soldiers also disrupted a wedding ceremony in Manje village in Kutkai Township on March 19. 66th LID soldiers stopped the ceremony and asked the pianist who was playing a wedding prelude to come with them. A villager said they had to finish the wedding ceremony with a quiet crowd of 10 people.

16 households from Bang Hak village and 19 households from Jawng Pa village in Theinni Township fled their homes fearing Burmese army’s intimidating presence. Only a few villagers left in each village to watch their properties, said an aid worker currently helping the villagers.

Ta-ang sources said 77th LID troops are intimidating local Ta-ang villagers in Kyauk Me, Nam San and Kutkai Townships. A 50-year-old villager woman and a 15-year-old student were hit by random artillery fire by Burmese army troops in Pan Ye Kan village in Nam Sam Township on March 19.

Burmese army’s 33rd LID troops reportedly raped a housewife in Naung Hkun village in Kutkai Township on March 18 at 10 pm.

TNLA information department reported that Burmese army troops detained 87 villagers, beaten 5 villagers, forced 33 villagers to porter, burned down 20 houses, ransacked 5 villages, destroyed houses and monasteries in 4 villages, and injured 4 villagers with random fire since the beginning of March.

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