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Myanmar’s dead and wounded civilians trapped in battlezone

Fighting between the junta and three allied resistance groups in Myanmar’s north has trapped over 500 civilians, a rescue team told Radio Free Asia on Wednesday. 

A trade zone in Shan state’s Muse township is now at the epicenter of an escalating humanitarian crisis, where charity workers attempting rescues are being shot at, the group added. Violence has only escalated from Nov. 29 until Tuesday, a Muse-based social assistance worker told RFA.

“A woman was injured when a heavy weapon dropped near her house at 105-mile [trade zone] yesterday. She died because she could not be rescued in time,” he said, asking to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. 

“There were some calls for help from those who were injured and trapped. We could not go. If a [rescue] van goes there, it gets shot at. So we can not do anything to help. There are people who died and their bodies could not be picked up either.”

Workers and injured civilians are trapped on the road in the direction of Kyin San Kyawt border gate, he added, and some families were trapped in a village near 105-mile trade zone.

There are three bodies and other injured people near Ton Kan village on Kyin San Kyawt road between 105-mile trade zone and Muse city, according to rescue workers.

More than 10 civilians, including three children, were killed in fighting that lasted over a week. The actual number of the casualties could be higher, they added, and at least 2,000 people have fled Muse and are displaced due to fighting. 

However, rescue workers said they could not confirm the exact number of casualties and trapped people because internet access and phone lines were disconnected in the area.

If the fighting lasts longer, people remaining in 105-mile trade zone would face food shortages, since food can no longer be sent, said a Muse resident who wished to remain anonymous to protect their identity. Junta troops are stationed at the exit of Muse city because there is a military camp at 105-mile Hill, residents said, adding the three northern alliances currently occupy Kyin San Kyawt Road.

Both military junta spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun and Li Kyarwen, a spokesperson from the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, one of the three allied forces, said the battle was intense at Muse’s 105-mile trade zone. However, neither disclosed exact details regarding casualties or injuries. 

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.