At least 26 civilians, including six children have been killed in Myanmar’s Shan State a local, during fighting between Myanmar’s army and resistance groups, a medical assistance group reported.
The combat took occurred in Shan State’s Pekon township, a heavily contested location of the armed conflict that erupted after the army seized control from Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government in February 2021. The takeover sparked large public protests, which were violently suppressed by security forces, resulting in an armed rebellion that now spans much of the country.
Mobye, a collection of settlements of about 175 square kilometres (about 70 square miles) located about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of the capital, Naypyitaw, has been the site of recent conflict. The region is located between the capital and an area dominated by the Karenni ethnic minority group, which has also been fighting the military-installed administration.
Newly formed militia formations opposed to military authority are part of the People’s Defence Force, or PDF, which has developed alliances with well-established armed ethnic minority organisations like as the Karenni, Karen, and Kachin. For more than a half-century, ethnic groups have been pressing the central government for greater autonomy in border regions.
On May 27, more than 100 soldiers marched into one of Mobye’s villages, arresting approximately 100 locals, the majority of whom were released after being held for a few days in two Buddhist temples. The majority of them have since abandoned the area.
According to a Mobye local, some villagers had hidden in their homes to avoid arrest and were among at least 26 individuals killed, either shot dead in their homes or when they ventured out onto the street, or killed by artillery strikes. He claimed that six of the dead were youngsters. The villager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation, stated that he did not see the executions, but that only soldiers were visible in the street when the bodies were gathered for cremation.
His account could not be independently verified, and the military administration has not issued any new information concerning the combat in the area.
Last week, three local armed rebel organisations blamed the killings on the army.
The Karenni Nationalities Defence Force’s vice commander-in-chief and Secretary No. 2 Maui told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the army “recklessly shot the villagers when they marched into the village despite the fact that there was no fighting there.”
According to Banyar Khun Aung, executive director of the Karenni Human Rights Group, more than 30 individuals were killed in Mobye on Wednesday, practically all of them by the army, some after being captured, and some by bombardment.
After arriving at the scene, the Free Burma Rangers, a humanitarian relief organisation that provides hands-on medical help to ethnic minority people in Myanmar’s border regions, counted 26 dead and 20 injured. According to its website, residents discovered three bodies that had been forced to kneel and then shot in the head.
The PDF and ethnic insurgents target military columns, bases, and outposts on a regular basis. They are vastly outgunned by the military government’s forces, which have launched large-scale offensives in contested area, deploying artillery, air strikes, and ground troops. Their attacks have frequently resulted in civilian casualties and have been convincingly linked to intentional human rights violations. More than a million people have been displaced as a result of the military’s attacks, resulting in a humanitarian crisis.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, security forces have killed at least 3,659 civilians and imprisoned 23,337 persons since the army took power in 2021. The organisation keeps meticulous records on arrests and casualties related to the country’s political crises.