A 13-year-old boy was killed in Chin State’s Mindat Township on Monday after he was hit by an artillery shell fired by regime forces travelling on the Mindat-Matupi road, according to local resistance sources.
The victim, eighth-grade student Mg Hung Ki, died while he and his family were trying to flee junta troops approaching their village, the sources said.
“His family’s house was on the side of the road, so they ran down into a valley to hide. That’s when one of the military’s artillery shells hit him,” said Yaw Marn, the spokesperson for the Mindat chapter of the Chinland Defence Force (CDF).
“He died instantly,” he added.
Several houses were also destroyed in the attack, according to the CDF Mindat spokesperson.
The forces that opened fire on the village were part of a convoy of more than 70 military vehicles, including two tanks, that has been going back and forth along the Mindat-Matupi road since early January.
The convoy has faced repeated attacks from resistance forces. At least 20 regime troops were killed as it was returning to Mindat from Matupi in late January, according to Yaw Marn.
“The junta convoy was on its way back from Matupi when it was hit by a series of explosions,” he said, adding that the soldiers retaliated by firing indiscriminately into nearby villages.
“They just blindly opened fire along the way. So many shells fell into villages,” he told Myanmar Now.
It took the convoy 16 days to travel from Matupi to Mindat—a journey that can usually be made in a single day—due to the constant harassment by resistance fighters, he said.
When the convoy finally reached Mindat at around 8pm on Tuesday, troops from Light Infantry Battalion 274 fired heavy artillery in the direction of villages north of the town, according to Yaw Marn.
“It felt like the earth was shaking,” he said, noting that the sound could be heard more than 30km away.
Nearly 10,000 civilians have been displaced in Mindat Township due to the fighting, according to local relief groups. Most are said to be experiencing severe shortages of food and medicine.
The military, which cut off internet access in the township several months ago, has also disrupted food supply chains in an effort to bring the area under its control.
The township has been under martial law since May 13.
According to a statement released by the United Nations Secretary General’s country representative for Myanmar on February 7, at least 114 minors between the ages of 3 and 17 have been killed by the military since last year’s coup.