Two Civilians Killed As Fighting Intensifies in Myanmar's Kayah State

By The Irrawaddy 27 May 2021

Junta forces killed two civilians and fired on a church as

fighting with the Karenni People’s Defense Force (KPDF) continued in Demoso Township, Kayah State, on Thursday.

Shootouts between civilian fighters and junta forces resumed when regime troops entered the Dawt Ngan Khar quarter of Demoso on Thursday afternoon, according to a KPDF member.

During the fighting, a civilian fighter was killed and another three were injured by artillery, according to residents.

A KPDF member said: “We are fighting around 200 troops coming from Ngu Palot who entered the town’s Dawt Ngan Khar quarter. They are firing artillery.”

Most Demoso residents have left their homes and are sheltering in the hills. More than 50,000 residents have fled their homes in Loikaw and Demoso townships and more than 20,000 in Pekon Township and Moebyel town in Shan State. Civilians are sheltering in the hills and some are hiding with relatives since the fighting began on May 21. Some returned to their homes to gather food for families.

Two villagers – Alfred Ludu and Patrick Boe Reh – gathering food and water were allegedly shot dead by snipers near Ngu Palot village.

“This morning two villagers riding motorbikes returned to their homes to find food. They were shot by a sniper and died on the spot,” said a resident.

Their funerals were reportedly held on Thursday.

St Joseph Catholic Church in Demoso was damaged by junta artillery on Wednesday night.

St Joseph Catholic Church in Demoso was damaged overnight on May 26. / CJ
St Joseph Catholic Church in Demoso was damaged overnight on May 26. / CJ

The Sacred Heart Church in Kayanthayar Parish near the Kayah capital Loikaw was hit on Sunday, leaving four dead and eight wounded. Civilians were sheltering at the church amid fighting between the regime’s troops and resistance groups. The building was seriously damaged.

On Monday, artillery hit a Buddhist monastery in Demoso where civilians were sheltering.

Cardinal Charles Bo, the archbishop of Yangon, on Tuesday called for places of worship not to be attacked. He called the situation “a great humanitarian tragedy” saying that many children and older people have been displaced and are starving and lack any medical aid.

“This needs to stop. We plead with you all, related organizations, kindly do not escalate the war,” the cardinal said.

Following the statement, the junta said insurgents used the Sacred Heart Church to attack the security forces, claiming empty bullet casings were found on the church grounds.

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