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Ongoing conflict in northern Myanmar kills 2, including child

Residents in northeastern Myanmar are facing both a humanitarian crisis and intense conflict, people living in the area told Radio Free Asia. On Sunday night, airstrikes by junta forces killed two people, including a child, in Shan state.  

Locals were caught off guard when a junta plane began an aerial attack on Myo Thit village in Namhsan township around 10 pm. It was unexpected because there had not been any fighting beforehand, said one local, asking to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. 

“There is no fighting in Namhsan, but the aerial bombardment was carried out while people were sleeping,” he told RFA, adding that six women and two men were injured in addition to the two killed. “People died and houses were also burned.”

The explosions damaged 23 houses in total. The bomb weighed roughly 500 pounds and killed Tar San Naw, as well as a child, when it landed on a house, according to a statement released by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army on Monday.

The junta has not released any information about this attack and calls by RFA to Shan state’s junta spokesperson Khun Thein Maung went unanswered.

Conflict in northeastern Shan state has intensified in the last two months, as an allied group of resistance armies took three major cities in Operation 1027 in late October.

Earlier that month, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army attacked several junta convoys, causing their troops to retaliate. Since Oct. 10, nearly 30,000 internally displaced people have been sheltering in makeshift tents near the China-Myanmar border in Laukkaing township. 

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A camp for internally displaced people in Laukkaing township on November 18, 2023. Credit: The Kokang

Since Thursday, heavy rain has made life more difficult for those forced from their homes.

After several days of rain, resources are becoming harder to find and people’s health is deteriorating, said a Laukkaing resident, who did not want to be named for security reasons. 

“They have been living in tents since before [the rain]. It is raining and they are not comfortable anymore. Most are workers from other areas, not residents,”  he told RFA. “There are many people who came to work in Laukkaing from other areas. Water also became scarce in that camp.”

Elderly people and children are also more prone to illness in the colder weather without blankets, he added. On Saturday, the camp’s water and electricity were cut off.

The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army warned Chinese citizens in Laukkaing to return to China to avoid conflict in the region. They also told civilians to stay away from military camps and not to move around the area.

All of Laukkaing’s roads and gates out of the city are blocked and locals are facing food shortages, residents also reported. Junta troops are not letting food or supplies into the city. 

After Operation 1027, battles between the military junta and the three northern allies have been continuing in eight townships, including Namhkan, Chinshwehaw, Nawnghkio, Lashio and Manton.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.