Due to the almost daily firing of mortars by military junta troops in Loikaw, Demawso, and Hpruso townships from November 1st to November 15th, 51 homes were damaged and 28 people, including a child, were injured, and a 5-year-old child was killed, according to the Karenni Consultative Council (KSCC)’s statement on November 18th.
Loikaw town was the most affected by the mortar fire, where 28 houses were damaged and 12 people were injured. A boarding house for child refugees from the war in a village on the eastern side of Loikaw was among the targets.
“The children are studying there. Since the war started, regular schools are closed. Children came there, where there is a hostel, and they can continue their studies. The school’s kitchen and dormitory are destroyed,” said a volunteer, also a refugee.
In eastern Loikaw township, the military junta troops were firing mortars almost every day from November 8th to the 15th, for reasons that aren’t clear. Locals say that they often fire weapons in the evenings from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m., even if there is no fighting.
“They start with 2 or 3 rounds. After that, it gradually increases. After 2 or 3 days, they may fire 7 or 8 rounds, targeting several villages on the east side,” said the boarding school volunteer.
The regular shelling causes fear and insecurity among the population. A Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) news and information officer said that the military junta’s targeting of the public has gone beyond violating human rights, and the public should be careful.
“The military junta is deliberately shooting at villages where the people are, who were not fighting and have nothing to do with the war. There are also refugees in these villages who fled fighting elsewhere. We, the KNDF soldiers, don’t stay in these villages, out of concern for people’s safety. Junta troops just start shooting unilaterally, without any provocation,” the KNDF spokesman said.
The KSCC issued a statement yesterday, November 18, condemning the junta’s targeting of civilians and urging allies to take effective measures and sanctions against the military junta for committing war crimes.
On November 1, the Progressive Karenni People’s Force (PKPF) announced that 1,247 houses and buildings have been damaged or destroyed by the military junta since the February 1, 2021 coup d’état.