By Kantarawaddy Times
A 70-year-old woman displaced by clashes along with 2,000 others is the latest casualty in the conflict between junta forces and civilian resistance groups in southern Shan State.
According to a Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) officer on the front line, the woman’s body has yet to be collected from her village, while residents of Shwe Pyi Aye, Hkawng Ei, Loi Lon and Loi Wel villages in Pekon Township have been taken to safety. “Burma Army soldiers (BA) are still staying in Loi Lon and Shwe Pyi Aye villages,” he said.
The senior citizen was killed when junta forces fought the KNDF and the People’s Defence Force near Loi Wel and Loi Lon in late October. Villagers from Hkawng Ei started to leave when the soldiers entered their village.
According to locals, BA sent reinforcements to Pekon Township and fired indiscriminately into villages and towns, as well as checking all travellers.
The KNDF reported that there have been over 100 clashes with BA since the conflict began in May.
According to the Karenni Human Rights Group (KHRG), the junta’s forces have killed 92 people in Karenni State and Pekon Township since the coup on 1 February.
Villagers abducted by junta forces and used as human shields have still not been released. On 28 October, soldiers abducted 19 people from Shwe Pyi Aye village – also called Kathe – in Pekon Township.
According to another KNDF officer, they’re being held captive by BA Light Infantry Battalion-336 in Pekon town until the PDF returns five rifles it captured from five soldiers it killed at a checkpoint during fighting last month.
KHRG condemned the use of civilians as human shields and the planting of landmines in villages. ”According to the Geneva Convention, the Burma Army has committed war crimes… We call on the military to stop their human rights violations. One day they’ll be forced to pay for their crimes,” said KHRG director Banyar.
The soldiers tied the villagers’ hands behind their backs and blindfolded them before making them walk in front of the soldiers.
In Karenni State, junta forces have used civilians as human shields in Loikaw and Hpruso townships.