LAIZA, KACHIN STATE—Two artillery strikes by the Burmese government army on Monday hit a civilian area in Laiza where Kachin villagers were warming themselves around a fire. The Irrawaddy’s photographer Steve Tickner was on the scene several minutes after the attack to cover events.
Three people, including a teenager, were killed in the strike, while another four were injured.
Steve reports that the shelling in a central Laiza township at 8:10 am on Monday morning killed a 14-year-old boy named Hpau Yula, while a Chinese Kachin man in his fifties, named Bawk Naw also died. Bawk Naw and his wife were sitting in front of their house at the time of the attack.
The third person to die in the Burmese government strike was a church deacon named Malang Yaw. Doctors at Laiza Hospital were unable to save him. Malang Yaw had come to Laiza after fleeing his home village of Ja Ingyan to avoid the fighting.
He was one of more than 15,000 internally displaced persons to seek refuge in Laiza, a small town on the Burma-China border, where the Kachin Independence Army headquarters is located.
Heavy fighting between the Burmese government and Kachin rebels continues to rage in the strategically important mountains around Laiza valley. Injured rebels are sent to Laiza Hospital on a daily basis, while there are frequent funeral services for killed rebel soldiers.