Child shot dead as police open fire on Myitkyina neighbourhood following explosion

A seven-year-old boy in Myitkyina, Kachin State, was killed by a stray bullet after junta troops opened fire in his neighbourhood in response to an explosion at a nearby police battalion on Tuesday, a source close to the victim’s family said. 

The blast occurred outside the base of Police Battalion 30, located between Lel Kone and Kyun Pin Thar wards, at around 6am. Officers in the base responded by shooting indiscriminately on foot throughout the area, as well as from a car along Kyun Pin Thar St. 

One of the shots hit Bhone Khant Htae—also known as Mohammad Saiful Alam—who was playing video games with his brother at home in Kyun Pin Thar ward next to the battalion. 

“The child fell facedown but his brother thought he was ducking because he was scared [of the noise],” the family friend said. “They only found out he had been shot when blood started to come out of his chest and mouth after the gunshots stopped.”

At around 8am, members of the military came to collect the child’s body, but returned him to his family at around 11am. Junta medical records showed that the bullet went through Bhone Khant Htae’s chest and left arm and exited the body, according to the friend. 

A funeral for the boy was held later that day. 

Tuesday also marked one year since the military coup in Myanmar, with locals reporting that Myitkyina was largely quiet that day, in coordination with the “silent strike” organised by the resistance movement. Streets in Kyun Pin Thar remained deserted following the explosion and the subsequent gunfire

Locals in the area said that Police Battalion 30 was responsible for using flash grenades during a major crackdown on anti-junta protests in April of last year, and had opened fire indiscriminately into Kyun Pin Thar ward. 

Explosions have been occurring around Myitkyina since late January, including at a traffic police outpost, a cable box for military telecoms provider MPT, and an office and telecommunications tower belonging to Mytel, which is partially owned by the military. 

While resistance forces have been using explosives to target junta infrastructure and posts nationwide, no group had claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks at the time of reporting. 

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