More fighting has erupted between ethnic Shan rebels and the Burma Army near a village in eastern Shan State where hundreds of displaced people have taken shelter for about two weeks.
Gunfire could be heard for many hours on Sunday and Monday in Kyaethee Township, according to local residents.
“The clashes began on Sunday afternoon at about 2 pm near Pang Sel village,” said Sai Hlaing Kham, a Shan resident in Kyaythee town. “It continued into the night, and artillery could be heard again on Monday between 7 am and 3 pm.”
The Burma Army and the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) could not be reached for comment.
The Shan Herald Agency for News reported that the SSA and government troops from Infantry Unit 248 clashed about eight miles east of Kyaethee town. SSA frontline commander Sai Pha Hlat was quoted as saying that government troops attacked an SSA-N camp with artillery on Sunday.
“We heard some artillery shells even fell into Pang Sel village,” a resident from nearby Hah Wan village told The Irrawaddy, adding that her own village was spared from the fighting. “We keep staying in our homes,” she said.
Residents were forced to flee their homes in Pang Sel, Wan Kyaung, Pa Tit and two other villages, according to Sai Hlaing from Kyaethee town. He added that the government troops had left Pang Sel and were returning to Kyaethee town on Tuesday.
The clashes were also seven miles away from Wan Wap village, where about 300 people have been taking shelter at a monastery since fleeing their homes due to fighting earlier this month. They fled from Pha Saung village, where government troops and the SSA-N have clashed near Tah Pha Hsawng bridge since June 26. The situation around the strategic bridge remains tense.
Aid workers said the fighting this week has prevented them from reaching the displaced people in Wan Wap village. They plan to attempt to resume aid on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, two civilians were killed in separate clashes west of Namkham Township, northern Shan State, between government troops and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) over the weekend.