Eight-month-old injured, mother killed as MNDAA clashes with junta near Lashio

A woman was killed and her infant child injured by artillery shells on Sunday during a battle between junta troops and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in northern Shan State.

A military column of about 70 troops entered the village of Man Bang, located some 20 miles outside Lashio, at around 10am. A battle broke out around 1pm when members of the MNDAA—a Kokang ethnic armed organisation—arrived in the village, and lasted for the next three hours.

When junta troops took cover among civilian houses during the fighting, an explosive shell fell and detonated inside one of them, instantly killing a civilian woman named Marion, 38, a Man Bang resident said.

“The entire roof was torn off while they were hiding inside the house. Marion was hit in the head, back and legs. We had to wrap her in blankets and a mat and cremate her on the same day because there was too much blood. We could still hear shells flying during her funeral,” the villager said.

He added that Marion’s eight-month-old child had also been hit by shrapnel in the stomach and legs and was undergoing emergency medical treatment at the Lashio General Hospital.

Myanmar Now has been unable to confirm which side fired the artillery shell that killed Marion.

The fighting forced Man Bang’s residents to flee to nearby villages and farms, with 48 currently taking shelter at a church on San Kaung Street in Lashio’s Ward 2.

According to the Man Bang resident, who spoke with Myanmar Now on condition of anonymity, the displaced people at the church are in need of urgent aid, especially food and medical care.

Close to 40 people are currently staying in relatives’ homes in nearby villages, and more than and 50 people, including elderly citizens and children, have taken shelter in the forest, the Man Bang resident said on Tuesday morning.

“We started looking for people who had fled for safety at around 9pm on the day of the battle, but only found them the following morning. We haven’t been able to bring back all the people sheltering in the forests yet,” the man said.

There are 35 households in Man Bang village, which has a population of around 170, mostly of Kachin ethnicity. However, residents have now mostly abandoned Man Bang, leaving it to be occupied by junta soldiers.

There has been little activity by the military near Man Bang village since the 2021 coup. Locals believe that junta began targeting previously peaceful area only recently as a response to attacks by resistance forces in Lashio, where the military’s Northeastern Command is headquartered, in the first week of June.

The MNDAA assaulted the Ward 12 police station near Lashio Stadium, the base of Light Infantry Battalion 507 in Ward 5, and another military base in Pang Huong village, Lashio Township, all on June 5.

At the beginning of that month, the Chinese government sponsored a meeting between an alliance of ethnic armed organisations—including the MNDAA—and military officials in Mongla, northern Shan State. The talks, scheduled to take place over three days, ended abruptly on the second day as fighting broke out between the MNDAA and junta forces elsewhere in the state.

An undetonated artillery shell found near the village (Supplied)

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