The Irrawaddy

8-Year-Old Boy Killed in Military Shelling in Shan State, TNLA Claims

Mon State — An 8-year-old boy was killed and seven others were wounded in shelling by the Myanmar military in Shan State’s Kutkai Township on Thursday morning, according to the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Metta Shin, a community-funded emergency response team.

They said the casualties occurred between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. when the military’s Infantry Division No. 88, stationed at a Buddhist monastery on a hill outside the victims’ village, shelled the area.

Metta Shin and the TNLA’s Information Department reported that the 8-year-old boy, Mai Ko Ko, was wounded by the shelling and died on the way to a local hospital. They said the shelling also injured the boy’s parents and 7-year-old brother, who were being treated at a military hospital in Kutkai, and a 50-year-old woman.

Major Tar Aike Kyaw, of the TNLA, told The Irrawaddy that his fighters had not engaged Myanmar military troops for the past two weeks but added that they had clashed near the village before.

“We had no troops in the village. There wasn’t even any fighting. But they shelled the village intentionally,” he said.

U Thein Aung, a township resident who lives near the village, told The Irrawaddy that an artillery shell landed in the boy’s house. He said TNLA troops had slept in the village overnight but left early in the morning before the shelling began.

The TNLA has repeatedly accused the military of shelling civilian villages in the past, sometimes fatally, and always with impunity.

Yanghee Lee, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, accused the military of violating human rights in Shan State and elsewhere while addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.

Though hostilities between the military and Myanmar’s ethnic armed groups typically ratchet down during the rainy season, clashes do occur, and thousands of civilians in Shan and Kachin states remain displaced by previous rounds of fighting.