Teen boy becomes fourth casualty of junta artillery fire in Chin State township in under one month

A heavy artillery shell fired by the Myanmar army exploded in a Mindat Township village in southern Chin State on Tuesday, killing a 14-year-old boy, according to residents. 

The Mindat-based Infantry Battalion (IB) 274 reportedly fired the shell in question, which hit the village of M’dat, 10 miles south of Mindat town, at 10am. 

Troops from the battalion had been firing shells “for a few days,” a local man told Myanmar Now. 

It was the fourth recent death in the area due to artillery fire by IB 274, according to residents. On June 16, shells fired by the battalion also reportedly killed a man and two women who were working in a farm in the Mindat village of Mwi Twi. 

While the identity of Tuesday’s victim was not confirmed at the time of reporting, the villager who spoke to Myanmar Now said that the child’s 11-year-old brother was wounded in an earlier shelling of the area on May 23 in which he had lost his leg. 

At least one other community was also hit in the most recent round of blasts, forcing an unconfirmed number of locals to flee their homes, the source added. 

There had been no recent clashes between the military and resistance forces in southern Mindat at the time the artillery was fired, residents said. 

A battle took place on Wednesday morning between the Mindat chapter of the Chinland Defence Force (CDF) and junta soldiers in the northern part of the township, where an army unit was reportedly trying to enter from Magway Region’s Htilin. 

Myanmar’s military has not released any comment on reports of its troops bombing civilian areas. 

“They’re always shooting at the villages around here, deliberately targeting civilians,” a spokesperson for the CDF-Mindat told Myanmar Now in May. 

The junta declared martial law in the township more than a year ago, but beyond the administrative centre, where IB 274 is based, rural Mindat remains a resistance stronghold. Members of the township’s anti-coup movement were among the first in the country to take up arms against regime forces cracking down on protesters at the time, with the CDF forming in April last year. 

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