Two children among four civilians killed by junta shelling in eastern Bago

At least five others—mostly children—were also injured during several days of heavy artillery fire by regime forces in the area

Shelling by regime forces killed four civilians, including two children, and injured five more in eastern Bago Region’s Nyaunglebin District earlier this week, according to the Karen National Union (KNU).

In a statement released on Thursday, the group said that villages in territory controlled by Brigade 3 of its armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), were assaulted repeatedly over the course of four days beginning on Sunday.

Junta troops stationed in Pein Za Loke, a town about 15km north of Nyaunglebin Township’s administrative centre, opened fire on villages on both sides of the Sittaung River in Kyaukkyi Township beginning at around 3:30pm on Sunday, the statement said.

Soldiers based in the village of Thu Htay Kone and the town of Kyauktaga, both north of Pein Za Loke, also took part in the shelling, it added.

Two boys, aged 13 and 16, were killed by a shell that landed in Pethaung, a village on the eastern bank of the river, while two other children were injured, according to the KNU.

The shelling resumed early the next morning, this time targeting villages in Shwegyin Township, east of Nyaunglebin on the opposite side of the Sittaung River.  

No casualties were reported in those attacks, but later in the day, soldiers from the town of Shwegyin fired three 60mm shells that landed in a school compound, injuring a teacher and two students.

On Wednesday morning, two men, identified as Maung Htwe, 60, and Thant Zaw, 35, were killed when three 81mm shells fired by regime forces landed in the village of Za Loke Gyi in Mone Township, according to the KNU.

The bodies of two men killed by junta shelling in the village of Za Loke Gyi on August 16 (KNU)

Last Friday, two junta fighter jets carried out airstrikes on villages east of Thu Htay Kone after soldiers stationed there suffered multiple casualties in a clash with the anti-regime People’s Defence Force (PDF). Airstrikes were also reported in the same area on Tuesday.

Since seizing power in February 2021, Myanmar’s military has faced unprecedented resistance from groups loyal to the ousted civilian government.

The KNLA, which has provided military training and other assistance to the newly formed armed groups, has been labelled an insurgent army by the regime, while the PDF is designated as a terrorist organisation.

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