Civilian Injured Amid Armed Group’s Shelling of Residential Area in Myanmar’s Shan State

By Htet Naing Zaw 18 November 2019

NAYPYITAW—A woman was injured and houses were damaged when the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) launched an attack on Lashio in northern Shan State on Saturday, according to military spokesperson Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun.

The group reportedly fired six artillery shells from a mountain some 1,500 meters west of Lashio. Four of them exploded but two did not. Brig-Gen. Zaw Min Tun said two of the shells that exploded fell to the west of the Myanmar military battalion in the area.

“A woman was injured by the shell that fell on an urban area. The injury wasn’t serious,” said Brig-Gen. Zaw Min Tun. “We are conducting operations to regain control of the area. The attack was launched by the TNLA.”

The TNLA denied responsibility for the attack. “We don’t know who did it. We are only fighting [with the military] in Kyaukme,” said TNLA spokesperson Mong Aike Kyaw.

Lashio resident U Hla Min Than confirmed that a woman was injured and a car and some houses were damaged by artillery shells fired from Mt. Byone Taung, to the west of Lashio Education College.

“Locals are in a state of panic. Nobody knows where artillery shells will fall. In the latest incident, artillery shells fell on two locations. We don’t know which group did it,” U Hla Min Than told The Irrawaddy.

The Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, said its troops were providing security on the Mandalay-Lashio-Muse Union Highway when they came under attack on Nov. 13-14 in both the north and south of Kutkai Township.

“Now [the TNLA] not only attacks the military but also residential wards. Shooting at residential areas is a crime under existing laws,” said Brig-Gen. Zaw Min Tun.

On Aug. 15, the TNLA, the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army launched a series of organized attacks on the Myanmar military’s Defense Services Technological Academy (DSTA) in the town of Pyin Oo Lwin in Mandalay Region, and in locations in Naung Cho in Shan State.

Since the attack in August, violence has escalated in both northern Shan State and Rakhine State, where the AA and the Myanmar military have been engaged in a protracted conflict since December 2018. On Nov. 15, the AA launched an artillery attack on a military battalion in the east of Rathedaung, Rakhine State, but the military said its troops suffered no injuries.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko