Clashes Trap over 200 Villagers in Shan State

Refugees in Wanmai Monastery Refugees in Wanmai Monastery

Over 200 villagers from three villages in southeaster Shan State's Hsipaw Township, were trapped in a battle on 19 May after the Burma Army launched an offensive against the Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA).

The Burma Army launched an offensive against the SSPP/SSA at 9 pm on 18 May. The offensive was paused at night but then continued again at 7 am on 19 May. Three combat helicopters were used in the attack on 19 May, according to an official from the SSPP/SSA.

Over 200 residents from Nartaung, Khonanpha and Kyaungmai villages were trapped inside a monastery in Kyaungmai Village because of the clashes, according to local residents.

Nan Ngin, a 35-year-old woman who has been seeking refuge at Nampaung Ywama Gyi said: “There were four or five military columns from the Burma Army. They were entering one village after another. They stayed in the village and fired into the area outside the village using heavy weapons. The battle has been raging since yesterday [18 May] till this morning [19 May]. There are over 200 people in Wanmai Monastery. We couldn’t take them out because of the Burmese soldiers. They didn’t allow [the residents] to leave the monastery.”

The 68th, 69th, and 291st Infantry Battalions and the 532nd Light Infantry Battalion (LIB-532) under the North East Command are now active in the south east of Hsipaw Township and they are being led by a tactical operations commander from Lashio.

According to an unconfirmed news report, political parties and social aid groups from Hsipaw have been attempting to bring the trapped residents to Hsipaw.

Thousands of local residents have fled from their homes in Kyaukme Township due to the offensive launched by the Burma Army against ethnic armed groups.

Translated by Thida Linn