Two Civilians Killed in Clashes Between Burma Army, TNLA

By Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 16 March 2017

Rangoon—Two civilians were killed and two others were injured in fresh clashes between the Burma Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in the village of Nam Phat Kha in Kutkai Township of northern Shan State on Tuesday.

A Palaung (Ta’ang) ethnic mother, 42, and her 5-year-old daughter, were killed by artillery fire early Tuesday morning when TNLA troops launched attacks on Burma Army outposts near the village, said TNLA Maj Mai Ai Kyaw.

“Clashes took place in four places in Kutkai Township from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Tuesday,” the major told The Irrawaddy. The two sides also clashed for an hour on Wednesday, he added.

“The artillery shell fell near their bamboo house, and the mother and her girl were killed on the spot,” said local resident Lway Poe Jaing Kee from the Palaung Women’s Organization.

Two other people were injured in the shelling and sent to Lashio Hospital, according to Lway Poe Jaing Kee. Ten cows were also killed, she said.
Both the TNLA and its ally the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) are active in the area.

Locals of Nam Phat Ka village tract have not yet fled their homes but often sleep together with other families at night for fear of artillery fire and interrogation by armed troops.

Mai Mai, a Kutkai resident and member of the Kachin Peace Network, said: “Locals were hit not because they were stuck between clashes, but because [troops] were carelessly firing artillery fire.”

“The Burma Army has been conducting large-scale offensives deep into our forest bases. So, we have to carry out counter-attacks on the streets,” TNLA Maj Mai Ai Kyaw said.

The military has not made an official statement about the recent clashes, and The Irrawaddy was unable to obtain a comment from a military spokesperson.

The Burma Army previously said it would not allow the TNLA to join the peace process unless it disarms.

Tensions between the Burma Army and ethnic groups along the Burma-China border have been mounting since Northern Alliance troops launched attacks at Muse’s 105th mile border trade zone in November last year.