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Myanmar military shells Bago region townships, injuring 8 civilians

Junta heavy artillery attacks on two townships in central Myanmar’s Bago region have injured eight people, including a child, according to the Karen National Union.

The political group which represents ethnic Karen issued a statement Monday, saying a four-year-old child and three women were hurt by shells in Kyauktaga township the previous day.

Troops stationed near the township fired four shells at Ka Nyin Kyoe village, injuring four-year-old May Myat Noe Wai, 66-year-old San Htay, 52-year-old San San and 45-year-old Pyone Pyone Yi, according to locals who didn’t want to be named for safety reasons.

They said San Htay was critically injured and five houses were destroyed in the attack.

In another attack on Saturday, a 40-year-old woman and three 25-year-old men were injured when troops stationed in Nyaunglebin township fired three shells at Kyoe Gyi village, according to the KNU. It said seven houses were destroyed by heavy artillery.

The majority of ethnic Karen who live in the region are Christian. An artillery attack on Aug. 20 destroyed one of their churches in Kyaukkyi township, the KNU said.

The junta has not issued a statement on the shelling. However, its regional spokesperson, Tin Oo, told Radio Free Asia that troops were trying to bring stability to the region because the KNU affiliated Karen National Liberation Army and local People’s Defense Forces had entered some townships in eastern Bago. He said the townships were now under the control of junta troops.

Along with heavy artillery attacks, the junta has been carrying out airstrikes in the region.

On Aug. 18, planes attacked Kyaukkyi township four times, killing one civilian and injuring four others, the KNU said.

Nearly 100,000 residents of eastern Bago have been forced to flee their homes since the February 2021 coup, according to the United Nations.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn and Taejun Kang.