Two children among civilians killed during battles in Moebye

Four civilians, including a mentally disabled man and two children, were killed in Moebye, southern Shan State, during heavy fighting between junta forces and People’s Defence Force (PDF) fighters starting on Saturday.

The clashes broke out after military forces stationed near Set Taw Yar Hill, located near Nyaung Wine ward in Moebye, Pekhon Township, proceeded to advance through the town.

Airstrikes, heavy artillery shelling, and gunfire killed four civilians and injured eight during the battles, according to Toke Gyi, a battalion commander of the Moebye PDF (MBPDF).

“The air force launched airstrikes every day during the fighting,” said Toke Gyi.

A 3-year-old girl and a 40-year-old mentally-handicapped man from Si Kar Ward (3) were killed by the shelling. Another local man was shot dead by the military on the way to his farm on May 27.

Three-year-old child who was killed by the military’s artillery shelling (Moebye Rescue Team)

The airstrikes reportedly destroyed several buildings, including civilian houses and a monastery.

On the following morning, three civilians were injured when the junta air force dropped bombs on Myaynigone village west of Moebye, according to the MBPDF.

The military’s artillery shelling also killed an 11-year-old girl from Si Kar Ward (1) and injured other members of her family on May 29.

A woman living in Moebye said local people felt “trapped” in the town by the battles.

“We can only leave our homes when the fighting stops. We have no place to run,” she said.

According to Toke Gyi, junta soldiers and MBPDF fighters are both still in Moebye and have been exchanging fire.

“There will be another battle when we finally run into each other face to face,” he added.

Amid the ongoing hostilities, the MBPDF issued a warning to civilians in the area to “take care for your own safety.”

“People should dig trenches in their yards or better yet, flee from here, as the military could conduct more airstrikes,” the MBPDF battalion commander said.

The military air force bombed the area near Moebye, including a camp for displaced residents,  earlier this month, according to the MBPDF.

Moebye has strategic importance due to its location on the border between Shan and Karenni states, and on the road from Myanmar’s administrative capital Naypyitaw to the cities of Loikaw and Demoso, Karenni State.

The military has made frequent attempts to take full control of Moebye but has consistently met with strong resistance from armed anti-junta forces that still hold parts of the town.

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