A leader of a pro-government Kokang militia had his house shelled by Kokang rebel forces on Wednesday. One government loyalist was killed and four were injured in the attack.
A Burmese government report said that Peng Jiasheng’s “renegade Kokang” forces launched an attack on Bai Suoqian’s residence in Laogai at around 6:30am on 25 February, reportedly from the village of Siaw to the north of the town.
Bai Suoqian is the leader of a militia allied to the Burmese military, formed when the Myanmar Nationalities Defence Alliance Army (MNDAA) split in 2009 in a government-backed mutiny. Peng Jiasheng [also written Pheung Kya-shin], who had refused pressure to incorporate the MNDAA into a national Border Guard Force, was ousted as the group’s chairman.
Laogai [also written Laukkai], the capital of the Kokang Special Region which had enjoyed peace under Peng’s leadership, fell to government forces and he was exiled.
Tun Myat Linn, a spokesperson of the MNDAA, confirmed that the attack took place, claiming it was meant as a warning to the pro-government militia who he said have been forcing internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to Laogai despite continuing hostilities between government forces and Peng’s MNDAA in and around the town.
“We knew that neither Bai Suoqian nor his son were in the house at the time of the attack. His son and the government forces have been forcing IDPs back into the town and demanding they join the fight alongside the Burmese army. Those who refuse have been executed.” said Tun Myat Linn, claiming that two civilians were killed for refusing to join the pro-government faction.
“We attacked Bai Suoqian’s forces as a warning, and engaged in a firefight with government forces who were stationed behind his house. The fight lasted for about 40 minutes,” he said.
Tun Myat Linn said that Wednesday also saw government forces launch an attack on Kokang positions in Tashwehtan, to the east of Laogai. One MNDAA rebel was injured in the assault that included artillery and infantry.
The MNDAA has also accused the Burmese army and paramilitary units of massacring unarmed civilians.
Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Wednesday that it had seen pictures of voluntary workers in rubber gloves disposing of large numbers of dead bodies in civilian clothes, some with their hands bound, and others with missing limbs. The photographs are alleged to have come from a Kokang town, though the exact location was undisclosed.
The RFA report cited a source who claimed that around 100 civilians had been killed in government recriminations.