Escalating Conflict in Northern Shan State: The Crisis and Its Impact on Civilians
The Escalating Conflict
The ongoing conflict between Myanmar’s military junta and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in the northern Shan State has escalated in recent weeks. The Muse and Kutkai townships, situated near the Chinese border, have become the epicenters of the conflict that has been raging since late August. The TNLA, which is the armed faction of the Palaung State Liberation Front, has reported that the junta used jet fighters to bomb two of their targets in Muse Township. Thankfully, no casualties were reported from this aerial attack.
The Impact on Civilians
The conflict has drastically affected the lives of local villagers who report heavy shelling and high levels of military tension. The presence of TNLA troops in civilian homes has sparked fear among the residents, with some expressing their desire for the troops to return to their mountain camp for the safety of their village.
The junta infantry in Nam Hpat Kar has been targeting TNLA positions in Muse and Kutkai. On September 20, a monk and another civilian were injured by junta shelling in a village near the Chinese border. Heavy fighting near Hko Mone village in Kutkai Township was reported as junta Infantry Battalions 17, 574, and 577 advanced into TNLA territory on September 25.
The Humanitarian Crisis
The ongoing conflict has critically impacted the daily lives of residents. Villagers in Kutkai reported hearing explosions near their homes. In one incident, a mother picked her children up from school upon hearing the blasts. In another incident, a man was injured by a landmine and taken to a local hospital. Local volunteers have reported that at least five people, including two teenagers, have been killed and eight others injured due to junta bombardment since July.
The TNLA stated that over 50 battles have occurred between them and junta troops in the Kutkai and Muse townships since July 23. This escalating conflict has undoubtedly caused harm and instability for the local population, with no clear resolution in sight.
As the conflict continues to escalate, the plight of the local population worsens. With the junta and TNLA locked in a seemingly endless conflict, the future remains uncertain for the villagers caught in the crossfire. The international community’s attention and intervention are crucial for deescalating the conflict and ensuring the safety and well-being of the local population.
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