Army shelling kills six-year-old girl in Matupi

A six-year-old girl was killed by shrapnel on Saturday after regime forces based in Chin State’s Matupi Township started firing artillery near her family’s farm.

According to an information officer for the Chinland Defence Force (CDF), the girl and other members of her family were in a hut on their farm when it was hit by an artillery shell.

“The child died immediately after the shell hit the farm,” the CDF officer told Myanmar Now. 

No one else was injured in the incident, which occurred near the village of Valangpi, in the southern part of the township, on Saturday afternoon.

The shelling was unprovoked, the CDF officer said, noting that it occurred while a column of around 70 soldiers from a tactical base in Matupi was walking out to welcome a convoy of more than 60 military vehicles arriving from Mindat, a town in southern Chin State. 

“The military unit from the tactical base went out to welcome the reinforcement column coming from lower Myanmar when the base started shooting at the town,” he said. 

“There was no clash whatsoever. They were shelling random places, hoping to hit one of our bases,” he added.

Meanwhile, another civilian was reported killed at around the same time near the village of Kainn, also located on the road between Matupi and Mindat.

The victim, a 50-year-old man, died instantly after stepping on a landmine, according to the CDF officer. It was unclear which side had laid the landmine.

There have been a number of deadly clashes along the Mindat-Matupi road in recent months, including one that killed a junta lieutenant colonel in late July.

The area has seen a major build-up of military forces in the past few weeks, with two columns of reinforcements arriving since the beginning of October.

Internet connections have also been cut in most of Chin State since September 23. Of the state’s eight townships, only the capital Hakha still has internet access.

Regime forces have been accused of indiscriminately firing on civilians and torching their homes as part of a campaign to crush resistance to the junta that seized power on February 1.

Speaking on September 21, the coup regime’s information officer, Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun, blamed resistance forces for the military’ s actions, saying that rebels were hiding in the homes of civilians and using them to ambush soldiers.

The junta spokesman was unavailable for comment on the latest civilian deaths in Chin State.

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