By Kantarawaddy Times
Regime troops are opening fire on civilians in southern Shan State fleeing their offensive in Loikaw, stopping buses to prevent them from taking people to safety. Since Thursday, tens of thousands have been trying to escape Burma Army (BA) airstrikes and artillery attacks in the Karenni State capital and several villages in Demawso Township.
A man fleeing to Taunggyi told Kantarawaddy Times that a bullet pierced his friend’s hand near Nwar Lawoe in southern Shan State. Fortunately, it did not hit any bone and he is recovering in a hospital in the Shan State capital.
BA soldiers also shot at the bus they were travelling in as they passed Moebye before reaching their final destination later that evening, said a woman from Mai Lon, one of the wards in Loikaw targeted by the junta.
The soldiers started letting buses carrying Loikaw residents leave at noon on Sunday, but stopped some of them in Shan State. A man from Ner Nat Taw ward told the Kantarawaddy Times that his bus was stopped at a military checkpoint in Hopong Township and all ID and phones were checked.
“They did not allow our bus to leave. They told us that senior officers would come back to check us, but no one came and we stayed there for many hours. Finally, members of the Red Cross came and took us to the Four Mile bus station in Hopong town, where they checked us again,” he said, before finally making it to Taunggyi.
In the last five days, there has been fierce fighting in Loikaw between BA and allied groups such as the Karenni Army, the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force and the People’s Defence Force, with the regime attacking people’s homes with gunships, jet fighters and artillery fire, forcing many residents to flee to the Shan State capital or to Hsihseng and Awngpan.