Junta shells villages in Hpakant 

More than 200 locals were forced to flee their homes after the military shelled two villages in Hpakant, Kachin State on Monday afternoon, according to volunteers aiding the internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The junta’s armed forces stationed in Nam Ya, 18 miles east of Hpakant, fired artillery shells at Hkum Tsai Zup and Gaw Lu Yang villages at around 1pm. A shell hit an area near Gaw Lu Yang, and another exploded near Hkum Tsai Zup’s church. 

“There was no battle, but the military stationed in Nam Ya fired the shells. We don’t know the reason for sure yet. Maybe they’re trying to clear the area,” La Htoi, the leader of the IDP support committee based in Hpakant, said. 

The shelling marked the second time that the villagers have had to flee in less than a week. 

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) ambushed the military near Gaw Lu Yang on July 15 and 16. The Myanmar military shelled the area on July 15, injuring six locals.

Residents ran to the nearby village of Seng Hpra for refuge.

In Seng Hpra, many of the IDPs who initially fled on July 15 stayed in the local Kachin Baptist Church, but returned to their respective villages on Sunday. The next day, the military began shelling the area again, and they fled to Seng Hpra. 

At the time of reporting, around 200 people from the villages of Tada Nyi Naung, Gaw Lu Yang and Hkum Tsai Zup were staying in Seng Hpra’s church, the children’s development center and in the homes of relatives, according to the IDP support committee’s La Htoi.  

“There are some supplies that have been donated by the congregation. Some villages donated a couple sacks of rice too. That’s what we’ve been living on,” La Htoi said.  

The military summoned local administrators in Hpakant to a meeting on Monday morning and threatened to launch artillery strikes on their villages if they did not notify them of the presence of KIA troops. 

Myanmar Now tried to contact KIA information officer Col Naw Bu for comment on the situation, but the calls were not answered at the time of reporting.

The area of the shelling is located within territory controlled by the KIA’s Brigade 9. It was Battalion 44 under the ninth brigade that attacked the military on July 15. 

The KIA also attacked a police vehicle carrying around 10 troops in Yumar village in Hpakant on July 12. One day earlier, the KIA ambushed the base of a junta-allied militia in Waingmaw Township and confiscated their weapons.

Related Articles

Back to top button