Trapped Civilians Escape Monasteries During Mobye Siege

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Monday, September 26, 2022

Civilians trapped by invading regime forces in Mwe Taw and Settaw Yar Buddhist monasteries in Mobye managed to escape on 21 September, but others are still inside the buildings, according to the Mobye People’s Defence Force, which has been battling with the Burma Army (BA) in the town in southern Shan State for several days.

After BA shelled the town and surrounding villages, many civilians from Pwe Kon wards 1 to 3 fled to the monasteries thinking that the BA would not attack them, but they did and killed two children and two adults at Mwe Taw monastery on 16 September, a PDF officer told Kantarawaddy Times.

The coalition of resistance groups surrounded the BA soldiers who had occupied the two monasteries after shelling them, and a firefight ensued in which some of the trapped villagers escaped while others could not.

Banyar, director of the Karenni Human Rights Group, said: “We still do not know the exact number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mobye yet, but we estimate that more than 5,000 people were displaced by the fighting. Some have fled to Loikaw, others are staying in Pekon Township and still others are hiding in the jungle in Karenni State.”

The BA shelling killed a total of five people and destroyed more than 100 houses in the town, where fighting continues. The regime wants to gain control of Mobye to block the road from Pekon Township, where the town is located, to neighbouring Karenni State. The thoroughfare is a main artery between the two states.

“If BA continues to stay in Mobye and block the road, I think the town will be destroyed and the 300,000 people of Karenni State will suffer,” an officer from the PDF’s Loikaw branch told Kantarawaddy Times.

The BA launched an offensive against the resistance groups in Mobye on 8 September, but withdrew from the town after the fifth day. On 19 September, the regime initiated a new offensive.

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