Civilians injured, displaced by Myanmar military’s heavy weapons in Kachin State clashes 

Battles have been ongoing between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin State’s Momauk Township for several days, according to locals, who said that multiple trucks of junta reinforcement troops had been sent to the area to sustain the fighting. 

The locals who spoke to Myanmar Now claimed that there had been “major casualties” on the side of the military, but verification was not possible at the time of reporting.

KIA spokesperson Col Naw Bu said that the Myanmar army began firing heavy artillery at Kachin forces during clashes on October 22 and dropped bombs from aircraft for three consecutive days around Lonja Hill—the site of the fighting—one mile east of Momauk town. 

The military’s Infantry Battalion 437, positioned four miles west of the town, also fired artillery in the direction of the fighting, a local man told Myanmar Now. 

One of the shells reportedly detonated in Momauk town on October 29, wounding two locals.

“That shell fell right beside a hospital and two women were injured. Although one of them was not seriously injured, the other one had to be hospitalised,” the resident said. 

Starting on October 25, people from the villages of Lonja, Wa Wun and Nawng Pawng fled their homes due to the fighting, said a person who has been helping the area’s internally displaced persons.

A military artillery shell struck the compound of the Lonja Baptist Church in Wa Wun village during fighting on Sunday, which started at 8am, the volunteer told Myanmar Now, explaining that the village was no longer safe for its residents. 

“The shell hit a boulder near the church and pieces of rock flew right at the church and broke all the windows,” he explained. 

Around 200 civilians had sought refuge in Momauk town at the time of reporting, he added, with more expected to arrive in the coming days, even as the town’s own residents leave for safer areas due to the proximity of the fighting.

Two trucks filled with junta reinforcement troops arrived in the area on Monday morning, the second such batch of new soldiers to be sent to the area in recent days, according to locals.

Serious battles have taken place between the KIA and the military throughout Kachin State over the past year, in which the military has frequently employed airstrikes. 

The junta has also targeted civilians in its aerial attacks, most recently on October 24, when the military dropped three bombs from jets on a Hpakant Township music festival commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the Kachin Independence Organisation’s founding. More than 60 people were killed in the assault, and more than 100 injured. 

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