YANGON — A 2-year-old child was killed by artillery fire in clashes between the Myanmar Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin State’s Tanai Township on Sunday, according to a statement from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief.
The parents of the child are also receiving treatment for injuries, as the family was hit while inside a hut on their farm in Tein Kauk village, said the statement shared on the Facebook page of the commander-in-chief’s office, blaming the KIA for the death and injuries.
KIA spokesperson Lt-Col Naw Bu denied the army’s allegation, placing the blame on the army.
“It is not only Tein Kauk village that was hit by artillery fire. Other villages were also hit. We know where civilians are living, and we don’t target them. It is not good that the army always puts the blame on ethnic armed groups in the case of casualties,” he told The Irrawaddy.
Though the Myanmar Army and the KIA have not clashed seriously recently, there have been frequent skirmishes near gold and amber mines in the area, said the KIA spokesperson.
Locals and workers of gold and amber mines fled the mines to seek shelter in Tanai since clashes broke out on June 6.
Currently, four churches in Tanai are providing shelter for the displaced persons, Naw Ta, a member of Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) told The Irrawaddy.
“For the time being, there are more than 900 people at four camps. Social organizations have provided food for them, but now we only have one month of rations remaining,” he said.
Myanmar Army helicopters dropped leaflets in the second week of June, asking the people in the mining areas to leave by June 15 or else be recognized as insurgents. Most of the mine workers then left the mines, said locals.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.