Gunmen kill three close to Thai border

A 13-year-old girl is among victims of a deadly shooting by masked gunmen at an office belonging to Burmese intelligence in the Burmese border town of Payathonsu.

The incident happened on Sunday last week, and left at least three people dead, including an intelligence officer.

Payathonsu residents said four masked men wearing civilian clothing arrived in the town by car around 4pm on 5 June. Two of them entered the Military Affairs Security (MAS) office close to the town’s market and opened fire, killing Sergeant Kyaw Kyaw Aung on the spot and critically injuring another official, later identified as Soe Win.

A bomb that exploded shortly afterwards inside the town’s community centre is thought to have been laid by the other two gunmen, who detonated the device after they had driven away from the market area. Residents said that after the bomb went off, the men began a shooting spree that resulted in the death of the girl, identified as Naw Chit Snow Oo, and a motorbike taxi driver.

“They initially arrived on motorbikes and presumably hijacked the car when they arrived into town,” said one Payathonsu local. “Two of them went in and opened fire at the MAS office, killing one official – his body literally blew up.”

“A motorbike taxi driver and a girl getting her hair cut in a nearby beauty salon came out after hearing the noises and were hit. The girl died in the evening and the motorbike man died around 11am [Monday].”

The girl’s funeral was held yesterday.

Also injured in the attack was a checkpoint official for the ethnic armed group, the New Mon State Party (NMSP). Naing Aung Chan, who was in Payathonsu to shop for groceries, was hit on his arms and legs and was sent to hospital, where doctors amputated a finger.

“They hit an MAS official and blew up the community centre as they fled the scene,” he told DVB. “They yelled at me to stop and then opened fire. I was hit on both my arms and then a bullet hit my leg.”

The identities and motive of the attackers remains unknown. Payathonsu police seized a remote detonator left at the scene by the attackers.

The town, which lies across the border from Thailand’s Sangkhlaburi, has seen several similar incidents in the past six months, the most recent of which occurred on 9 May when a bomb exploded at local checkpoint. Locals also report that gunfire was heard emanating from a nearby village yesterday afternoon.

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