Fighting on Sunday in northern Shan State’s Muse District between the Burmese army and ethnic armed groups compelled hundreds of local civilians to flee across the border to China, according to local sources. Unconfirmed reports indicate there may have been civilian fatalities as well.
Sai Lao Hseng, the chairman of the Literature and Culture Association in Pang Hseng (not to be confused with Wa State capital Pangsang) said gunfire was heard coming from a Burmese military outpost in the town around 5am on Sunday, followed by a barrage of artillery shells landing in the town, prompting hundreds of residents to flee to safety across the border to the Chinese town of Wanding.
“I was in the local market early this morning when vendors were setting up shops. We heard gunfire from a government forces’ base near the Mingalar Zedi Buddhist Temple,” said Sai Lao Hseng. “Shortly after, we heard more shooting from a police outpost about half a kilometre to the east of the military base. Then people started fleeing.”
He added: “We ran to the border, but the Chinese authorities would not let us in. Finally, they relented and opened the gate, but only after we had pleaded with them repeatedly.”
Some of the refugees have relatives in Wanding and went to stay in their homes. Some 800 people with nowhere to go were provided makeshift shelter in a nearby field.
Sai Lao Hseng said a stray shell hit a house in Pang Hseng’s ward 6, and that a vehicle parked outside the road was damaged by shrapnel. In ward 8, a local man named Ar Tee was taken to hospital in Wanding after he was injured by shrapnel from an artillery shell, while another man in the same neighbourhood was reportedly killed when he was shot in the back.
Sunday’s refugees, having fled their homes abruptly, were unable to carry any supplies or belongings.
On the same day, fighting was also reported from Mong Ko, another town in Muse District.
Contrary to local sources who spoke to DVB, state-run Global Light of Myanmar this morning blamed the attacks in Muse on the Kachin Independence Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Kokang rebels.