Heavy artillery fired by the junta’s forces near Kone Thar village in Karenni (Kayah) State’s Loikaw Township on Sunday killed a 35-year-old man and severely injured a 33-year-old woman—his wife—according to local sources.
One of the shells exploded near a farm hut where the couple had sought refuge after fleeing their home in Kone Thar with their two children, aged 8 and five months, just one day earlier.
The man was reportedly killed on the spot. The woman suffered a head injury, and the eight-year-old boy was hit in the thigh by shrapnel.
“We don’t know if the woman will survive… I only heard that the injury was very serious,” a local told Myanmar Now.
Only the infant was left unscathed, he added.
The family, whose identities were not confirmed at the time of reporting, relocated to the hut after junta soldiers arrived in Kone Thar and proceeded to occupy the community over the weekend.
Residents feared that a battle with resistance forces was imminent, the local said.
“The hut where they were staying was also serving as a makeshift IDP [internally displaced persons] camp. The shell fell near the hut while they were all sleeping,” he explained.
At least four clashes have broken out in Kone Thar since last year, with locals repeatedly forced to flee.
The junta’s artillery fire on Sunday was not provoked by any fighting in the area, according to the local, who claimed that troops in Demoso, as well as Pekhon in southern Shan State, were also known to do the same.
“It’s happening all over the country. The military is fring heavy artillery shells without there being any battles,” he said.
A woman from Kone Thar was also reportedly killed in an earlier shelling on September 27.
The Progressive Karenni People’s Force (PKPF) released a statement in early October that a total of 339 civilians had been killed by the military since the February 2021 coup, and 1,200 houses and 27 religious buildings had been destroyed in Karenni State.
The PKPF also stated that nearly 1,600 junta personnel and 171 Karenni resistance fighters had been killed since May 2021.
Frequent clashes have occurred recently in Loikaw, Bawlakhe, Demoso, Hpruso and Shadaw townships in Karenni State, as well as Pekhon in Shan State.
According to locals and members of the resistance, the military’s administrative mechanism is only able to function in urban wards within Karenni territory, where the junta’s forces still maintain a presence.