Monk, novices among five injured by Myanmar army shelling in Mon State

Shelling by regime forces left five civilians, including a monk and two novices, severely injured at a monastery in Mon State’s Bilin Township on Saturday, according to resistance sources.

The monastery, located in the village of Ah Wun Gyi, was hit by two heavy artillery shells fired by junta troops based in the town of Bilin, Padoh Saw Aye Naing, the Karen National Union (KNU) secretary for Thaton District, told Myanmar Now.

The victims were identified as Ven. Kaysara, 24, Ven. Sendakumara, 19, Ven. Siloka, 13, Saw Pho Aung, 29, and Saw Chan Thar, 16.

Bilin Township is located within territory controlled by Brigade 1 of the KNU’s armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), which has allied itself with armed groups resisting the regime that seized power in February 2021.

The attack is believed to have been triggered by an ambush targeting military supply lines in the area.

“The military usually shells nearby villages whenever their convoys are intercepted,” said a spokesperson for the Thaton District People’s Defence Force (PDF), a KNU ally.

The PDF spokesperson also accused the military of planting landmines along roads between Bilin and neighbouring Kyaikhto Township.

“They’re laying landmines near the main roads so that when someone steps on one, they can blame us. So we’re warning the public to be careful,” he said.

The attack on Saturday came just two days after shelling by regime forces reportedly killed one child and injured another near the town of Kyaikdon in Karen (Kayin) State’s Kyainseikgyi Township on May 25.

Earlier this month, the KNLA’s Brigade 6 released a statement claiming that the military had fired 184 heavy artillery shells within its territory in April alone, damaging or destroying a total of 387 houses and other buildings, including churches, schools, and clinics.

On May 23, the KNU and its allies carried out a number of assaults on junta bases in Karen State’s Myawaddy Township, including the Waw Lay, Maw Khee, and Ka Ne Lay bases.

A battalion commander and eight other junta personnel were killed in the attacks, according to a statement by Federal Wings, an anti-regime drone battalion that took part in the attacks.

Myanmar Now was not able to independently verify casualty figures at the time of reporting.

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