Kachin State prison hit by heavy artillery 

The San Hkar prison in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township was hit by artillery on Wednesday morning, according to locals, who speculated that the shells were fired by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and local anti-junta guerrilla forces.

It was not known at the time of reporting if anyone was injured at the site, located five miles north of Hpakant town. 

“We started hearing the heavy artillery shells at around 4am. I think they fired around 20 of them. Then I heard an exchange of gunfire,” a man from the area said. 

The clash ended after an hour when the KIA and its allies appeared to have withdrawn, locals said. 

Myanmar Now tried to contact KIA information officer Col Naw Bu to confirm the local accounts of the incident, but the calls went unanswered.

Residents said that the weapons fire could have been a warning to Myanmar army troops who are stationed at San Hkar prison and have been attacking villages in the region with heavy artillery. 

Three residents of Hpakant’s Hmaw Pone village were injured and a 54-year-old woman named Khin Nyo Win died en route to the hospital in one such military shelling on June 19, locals said. 

In May, two men from Hmaw Pone were killed and several more injured in another artillery attack on the village by the troops based at the prison. 

An unconfirmed number of protesters continue to be incarcerated in San Hkar, after being arrested by the military for opposing the February 2021 coup. 

In response to the crackdowns on demonstrations and army offensives in the township, resistance forces active in Hpakant have repeatedly targeted junta-appointed administrators and alleged military informants in assassination attempts over the last year.

The bodies of three men were found near Hmaw Si Zar village on Monday, with locals suspecting that they may have been the victims of such an attack, though it was not known at the time of reporting why they may have been targeted.

The hands of one of the men found dead on June 20 are seen tied behind his back (KNG)

Two of the men were identified as being from Sagaing Region—Tun Aung, 50, from Ye-U Township, and Thet Cho Oo, 60, from Htigyaing. The identity of the third man, who appeared to be in his 20s, was not known. 

They had gunshot wounds to the head and had been blindfolded, with their hands tied behind their backs, according to an officer from a social welfare group who had the bodies transported to the local morgue. 

Since the coup, the volunteer noted that members of his group had been called to the murder scenes of some 27 people found to have been killed in a similar manner. 

Among them was Ohn Kyaw, the military’s administrator for Met Lin Chaung village, who was found with three other slain men, on June 1, and Ar Byel, who held the same position in Nat Hmaw village, and was found dead the following day. 

No organisation has claimed responsibility for the killings in Hpakant.

Related Articles

Back to top button