Burmese government forces stand accused of detaining more than 300 ethnic Palaung villagers in northern Shan State, and compelling hundreds more to flee their homes.
Thaw Bi Ta, a Buddhist monk from the village of Man Lwal, told DVB on Monday that he has accepted 20 villagers from Ma Lan village into his monastery, while dozens of others were detained and beaten by Burmese army troops in Ma Lan.
“The villagers told me that their family members were beaten by soldiers and held inside the monastery in Ma Lan,” he said. “They say the soldiers will not allow the villagers to leave the monastery. We are now considering how to rescue them.”
Clashes were reported between the Burmese army and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) up until Sunday near Ma Lan village. Residents have said that many houses were damaged or destroyed as the Burmese troops used heavy weapons.
Ma Lan locals said that Burmese army infantry battalions 501 and 503 entered their village without provocation and beat some village elders. More than 100 people fled to the nearby villages of Ma Lwal and Nam Lin to escape the shelling.
Local man Moe Kyaw said that no fatalities have been reported to date.
Another local villager, Hla Myint, told DVB that the Burmese units accused various residents of having links to the TNLA or of protecting its soldiers.
The Northern Alliance released a statement on 23 June, accusing the Burmese army of launching offensive operations against its members. The Northern Alliance comprises: TNLA, Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army, and Arakan Army.
During the past week, government forces have clashed with ethnic armed groups in Kachin, Arakan and Shan states, said the statement, adding that the Alliance believes the offensives will continue.
In Tanai Township, northern Kachin State, the Burmese army recently conducted a clearance operation in areas close to mines controlled by the KIA, forcing thousands of miners and their families to evacuate the sites.