Northern Myanmar clashes decline but remain deadly

The burnt remains of the home of Samra La in Injangyang Township, Kachin State. Photo: Free Burma Rangers

Monsoon rains and flooding have caused fighting between Myanmar troops and ethnic militias in Kachin and Shan states to slow, with the total number of military actions falling from 137 in May to just 23 in June. However, according to a recent report from the Free Burma Rangers, recent fighting still claimed lives and caused casualties, and flooding in conflict zones has left thousands displaced.

According to the report, nine Myanmar soldiers, two Kachin Independence Army (KIA) fighters, and two Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) fighters were killed by military violence in June. Of the 23 actions, seven were clashes between opposing forces, while the rest were unilateral acts, including landmine explosions.

Landmine explosions killed one civilian and injured eight.

On June 28, an eight-year-old boy in Kutkai Township, northern Shan State, was killed when a mortar landed near his home, spraying him with shrapnel. He died on the way to the hospital. Myanmar forces reportedly bombed the village to root out TNLA troops staying there.

On June 18, a 65-year-old man searching for mushrooms near his village in Hpakant Township, Kachin State, injured his left arm and leg in a landmine explosion.

While the rainy weather has mitigated the damage of military conflict, it has caused security concerns of its own. Several homes in Hpakant Township have been swept away by floods, and on June 22, flood waters swept away 30 jade scavengers.

The June report also included photos of damage caused by Myanmar forces in Kachin State’s Injangyang Township in April and May, which displaced thousands of people. The photos show the remains of homes that were burned down by the 33rd Light Infantry Division – the same division that led the mass displacement of Rohingya civilians from northern Rakhine State last August.

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