Displaced Civilians Killed, Used as Human Shields by Junta Troops in Southeast Myanmar

By NORA 15 March 2023

Myanmar military regime troops killed civilians and detained internally displaced persons (IDPs) as human shields as clashes between junta troops and a combined force of Karenni Army and Karenni Nationalities Defense Force fighters escalated in Kayah State, southeastern Myanmar.

The KNDF said the regime troops detained eight civilians from the IDP camp of Ku Yin Village-tract on March 12. They burned two elderly detainees while a 15-year-old boy was killed by gunfire.

“The rest are still detained as human shields,” the KNDF said.

A similar incident happened in Daw Ta Ma Gyi Village-tract, where 12 civilians including a mother and a child were arrested by regime troops on March 8, according to witnesses.

“They released the mother and child later but they still detained 10 civilians and also used them as human shields,” a local resident said.

Regime troops are targeting the area, where communities of IDPs are taking refuge, according to Ko Banya, spokesperson of the Karenni Human Rights Group (KnHRG).

“Regime troops are specifically advancing towards the areas of IDP communities. Yesterday, they [the regime] launched an air strike on an IDP camp in eastern Demoso while civilian medical teams were evacuating the IDPs. Luckily, there are no reported casualties,” Ko Banya said.

Regime forces have ramped up their atrocities against civilians and anti-regime forces in Kayah, where martial law has been declared by the regime.

Fighting is ongoing in Daw Ta Ma Gyi Village-tract of Demoso Township, Pekon’s Ku Yin Village-tract and around Pinlaung’s Nan Name Village in southern Shan State.

Regime troops are pushing further into Kayah State by deploying 12 military detachments in Demoso and Shataw, and in Pekon, and Pinlaung townships in neighboring southern Shan State.

KNDF and PDF groups announced that 31 junta soldiers were killed during three clashes with resistance forces in Pekon on Saturday and Sunday. PDF groups also seized six junta soldiers alive and several firearms and some ammunition, and found the bodies of soldiers killed in the clashes.