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Children among 8 civilians injured by military artillery fire in Sagaing

Eight people, including three children, were injured when the Myanmar army fired artillery shells into Tin Thar village in Sagaing Region’s southern Kalay Township on Sunday, local sources said. 

At around 9am, a shell hit a home where residents were hiding from the attack, wounding two boys aged nine and 10, a 12-year-old girl and five adult men. 

The nine-year-old boy suffered injuries to his spine and pelvis but was in stable condition, according to his father.

“We chose that house because we thought it would be safe,” his father said of the home where they were sheltering.

A 27-year-old man whose leg, head and face were cut by shrapnel as he hid near the gate of the house in question said that he counted around 15 shells that were fired towards Tin Thar. 

“The eighth shell hit the house at around 10:30am. I can’t remember much because it was very traumatising,” he explained.

A civilian injured by the military shelling of Tin Thar village on February 6 (Supplied)

A member of the Kalay People’s Defence Force’s (PDF) fourth battalion who goes by the name AMT said he could not disclose further details on the identities of the victims of the shelling, citing security concerns.

However, he confirmed that PDF medics had been looking after some of the victims who had been hit in the abdomen by shrapnel and were in critical condition. 

“The people didn’t even get the chance to run. They didn’t even know that the military was going to fire heavy artillery shells,” AMT explained. “When they realised that the village was under attack, it was already too late. The shells were fired at random.” 

“There were no battles that day, so I guess they were just trying to scare us,” he added.

An information officer for the southern branch of the Kalay PDF said that junta troops based in Hantharwaddy village in Magway Region, six miles from Tin Thar, fired 120mm artillery shells at the community, and troops in the village directly next to Tin Thar—Kyan Thar—fired 80mm shells starting at 6am. 

The Kalay PDF released a statement on February 4 that an alliance of guerrilla forces including their own group had attacked the junta soldiers stationed in Kyan Thar one day earlier, resulting in a two-hour battle and two casualties on the military’s side. Two resistance fighters also reportedly sustained minor injuries. 

The group also stated that they attacked junta columns operating in southern Kalay Township using explosive devices on four separate days during the first week of February, and that two PDF members were killed and two more injured in fighting that followed those incidents.

On Sunday afternoon, more than 60 Myanmar army soldiers leaving Kalay Technological University were attacked by the PDF between Zin Kalay and Chin Saing villages, killing some 15 troops, according to the Kalay PDF. 

Myanmar Now is unable to independently verify the PDF’s reports of casualties. 

The military council has not released any information concerning clashes or deaths in Kalay, and its spokesperson did not answer calls for comment. 

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