Local sources said over 100 civilians have been killed this week by Burmese army’s 33rd Light Infantry Division (LID) soldiers in Laukai. Ordinary civilians were being shot indiscriminately by Burmese soldiers during a three-day period of shooting rampage in the Laukai street on Feb 14-17.
Kokang Armed Group, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army’s (MNDAA) spokesman Htun Myat Linn said the youngest person being executed by Burmese army was as young as 11 years old and the oldest was over 80 years old.
“We saw a woman and her son being shot and murdered out there on the Laukai Street, the soldiers just shot whoever the saw. Some residents returned from Nam San to get their belongings were shot near their own houses,” said a Laukai resident.
Palaung State Liberation Front’s , political wing of Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Information Department said Burmese army troops ransacked Ta-ang civilians’ homes and interrogated villagers in Na Saing village in Laukai Township. Ta-ang civilians are the second largest ethnic group in Laukai area after Kokang national.
Battles continued to rage between allied MNDAA-TNLA-AA troops and Burmese army troops at Kung Kyan in Laukai Township as of Feb 20. The two sides fought at least three times in Kung Kyan on Feb 19 at 8 am, 8:30 am and again at 5 pm.
Kokang’s MNDAA was one of the first groups that signed a peace agreement with then Burmese military junta, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), in 1989. The group was known as Kokang Peace Group among the locals. Before signing the peace agreement with Burmese military junta, almost entire Kokang region was occupied by local indigenous people with just a handful of workers and shops owned by people from lower Burma.
Burmese military junta named the Kokang area as Special Administrative Region 1 and increased its presence by sending more civilian officials from lower Burma and setting up new military posts. International NGOs and UN agencies including UNDP and UNODC frequently travelled to Kokang region in regard to replacing opium with other crops. Kokang region was later declared as opium-free by the Burmese military junta.
In 2009, Burmese military attacked and seized Kokang area including Laukai and Chin Shwe Haw sending thousands of local residents to China. In a rare case, Chinese government rebuked Burmese government and two military chiefs, Vice-Senior Gen. Maung Aye and Gen. Shwe Mann, were reportedly summoned to Beijing to explain why Burmese military invaded Kokang and set up its artillery unit’ base right on the border area.
Burmese military continued its presence after 2009 attack by establishing a Regional Operations Command in Laukai and more Infantry Battalions had been sent and stationed in Kokang area.
MNDAA troops and its allied forces from TNLA and Arakan Army (AA) had seized four Burmese military posts – Nyawng Guan post, Maw Htai post, Nam Gut post, and Man Dung Pa post – on Feb 9. The allied forces entered into Laukai on Feb 11 and attacked Burmese army’s regional command center and local police office building. Sporadic fighting has occurred in Laukai since the allied forces entered Laukai area.