Air strikes near Mongko kill 3 civilians: local group

Air strikes near Mongko kill 3 civilians: local group

Burmese military air strikes outside northern Shan State’s restive Mongko town, near the China border, left three civilians dead, including a child, and six others injured on Sunday, according to a local civil society group.

The Mongko Baptist Association claimed Burmese military aircrafts on the morning of 4 December bombed the Palaung (Ta’ang) village of Kawng Lon Nang for no apparent reason, causing the civilian casualties.

“Three villagers were killed and six others were injured in the Palaung village of Kawng Lon Nang on Sunday when military planes dropped bombs on the village,” said the association’s chairperson, Titi Aung Latt. “There were no Kokang or other rebels in that village.”

He said that among the dead were a 50-year-old woman, a 40-year-old man and a young girl whose age was not known. The association helped get the injured civilians to hospitals across the border in China, and in the nearby towns of Mansi and Manhai.

“We sent a team to rescue the injured villagers. Two of them are now at a hospital in China and the rest are at the hospitals in Manhai and Mansi. The two at the Mansi hospital had serious injuries,” Titi Aung Latt said.

The air strike completely destroyed six houses in the village, located about six miles outside of Mongko town, and also left several other homes and rice mills burning.

Fighting between the Burma Army and troops from the self-styled Northern Alliance — a coalition of the Kachin Independence Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Arakan Army began on 20 November with an attack by the alliance on several police and military posts in Muse and Kutkai townships. Hundreds of civilians have since been displaced and at one point up to 3,000 people fled across the border into China, many of them from Mongko.

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The Mongko Baptist Association called on the Burmese military to cease its aggression in the area for the sake of civilians’ welfare.

“We would like to beg the Burma Army to stop these kinds of attacks. We understand there is a conflict but it was not we the civilians who started it. We didn’t bring the rebels here. But ultimately civilians are the ones who have to suffer the most from the conflict,” said Titi Naung Latt.

The Burmese military on Monday said Mongko town, which had been held by the Northern Alliance since 25 November, was recaptured by government forces on 4 December after a week of fierce fighting involving air strikes and artillery attacks. The military admitted that civilian buildings had suffered damage but claimed no civilian lives were lost as the town’s residents had already fled the area. The military said it is now undertaking efforts to rebuild the town.

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