Seven displaced people sheltering in a monastery, including a ten-year-old boy, have been injured by heavy artillery in Kalay township, in the war-torn Sagaing region, local residents told RFA Wednesday.
They said army shells hit the monastery at Nat Myaung village on Tuesday. Two men and four women were injured along with the boy.
A local resident, who declined to be named for safety reasons, said soldiers heading to Nat Chaung village were intercepted by local militia of the People Defense Forces (PDFs). The army troops intentionally shelled the monastery, the resident said.
“The army came from the north. They entered from the cemetery east of Nat Myaung village and passed through the village,” the local said. “An internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp has been set up at Nat Myaung village’s monastery. There is a field between the monastery and the village. The soldiers went through between the Aung Su Pan monastery and Net Chaung Educational School and were confronted by the local defense forces. The army did not fire the heavy artillery in the direction of the militia. Soldiers turned back and intentionally fired at the monastery where the IDPs are sheltering.”
The source, who is close to the injured family, said the heavy artillery hit the 10-year-old boy who was critically injured. He was sent to a 100-bed military hospital in Kalemyo.
The local resident said the other six people were not critically wounded and are being treated at the monastery. The shells also hit a fence and water tank at the monastery, according to residents
Calls to a military council spokesman by RFA still remain unanswered.
Fighting between the military troops and local militia PDFs at Nat Chaung village near Nat Myaung village intensified on Wednesday morning, according to local residents.
There are more than 200 villages in Kale Township. It was the first township in Myanmar to take arms against the military junta. Some 150 people have been killed and nearly 500 arrested due to the military crackdown, arrests on suspicion and arbitrary killings of anti-regime protesters in Kale Township in the year since the military coup, according to anti-regime protesters.
Military, NUG trade accusations over Yangon blast
The attack comes as the military junta and government-in-exile trade accusations over an explosion in downtown Yangon that killed one person and injured nine others. No-one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack but a junta spokesman said the National Unity Government (NUG) was behind the blast. He did not provide evidence.
NUG spokesman Dr. Sasa said in a statement that evidence pointed to the junta, claiming the “brutal genocidal military has been carrying out senseless bombings and killings against its own civilian population across Myanmar.”
Also Tuesday, a bomb blast at around 2 p.m. (3:30 p.m. EDT) near a state education office in Naung Cho Township, northern Shan State, killed at least one person and wounded seven.
The Institute for Strategy and Policy said in a report this month it had documented at least 5,646 civilian deaths between the Feb. 1, 2021 coup and May 10.
The figures include people killed by security forces during anti-junta protests, in clashes between the military and pro-democracy paramilitaries or ethnic armies, while held in detention, and in revenge attacks, including against informers for the regime.