An­other civil­ian in­jured in Muse of­fen­sive

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - THU THU AUNG thuthuaung@mm­times.com

One civil­ian was in­jured by se­cu­rity force fire and three blasts trig­gered by im­pro­vised ex­plo­sives rocked Muse town­ship on Novem­ber 28 as fight­ing be­tween the Tat­madaw and al­lied eth­nic armed groups has con­tin­ued in the border area.

THREE im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices were det­o­nated on Novem­ber 28 in Muse town­ship and one civil­ian was in­jured when se­cu­rity forces fired on him near the site of one of the explosions, as in­sta­bil­ity pre­vails over a week after a co­or­di­nated at­tack in the border re­gion.

U Zaw Min, head of the Muse dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tion, con­firmed the Novem­ber 28 events.

“Three places were blasted and one man was in­jured. Se­cu­rity forces tried to stop him after a blast [near the Muse My­oma Po­lice Sta­tion, where he was spot­ted on his mo­tor­bike]. He didn’t stop and was in­jured be­cause he got shot by se­cu­rity.”

In ad­di­tion to the Muse My­oma Po­lice Sta­tion, explosions took place in Kaung Mu Taw ward of Muse town and at Mant Man junc­tion, a cross­ing near a vil­lage of the same name. The explosions went off at 7pm, 9pm and 10pm, re­spec­tively, said U Zaw Min.

“Tat­madaw se­cu­rity forces around the blast ar­eas are car­ry­ing out clear­ance of the ter­ri­to­ries,” the Min­istry of De­fence an­nounced yes­ter­day.

The in­jured civil­ian, 23-yearold Ko Aye Chan Ko Ko, is re­ceiv­ing treat­ment at Muse Hos­pi­tal.

The North­ern Al­liance-Burma, the group­ing of four eth­nic armed groups that launched a sur­prise at­tack in Muse and Kutkai town­ships on Novem­ber 20, re­leased a mes­sage yes­ter­day ad­vis­ing civil­ians to stay away from po­lice and se­cu­rity out­posts.

Shortly after its ini­tial at­tack, the al­liance urged civil­ians to avoid non-essen­tial travel in the con­flict zone in or­der to min­imise the risk of get­ting caught up in the con­flict.

That same state­ment de­scribed the at­tack by the al­liance – bring­ing to­gether the Ta’ang Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion Army, the Kachin In­de­pen­dence Army, the Myan­mar Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance Army and the Arakan Army – as the “in­evitable” con­se­quence of per­sist­ing Tat­madaw ag­gres­sion in Kachin and north­ern Shan states.

The Tat­madaw has vowed to “fight back” in the wake of the Novem­ber 20 of­fen­sive, which the al­liance de­scribed as an at­tempt to shift the war front from the re­mote ter­ri­to­ries it con­trols to places like Muse, a border town and ma­jor trade hub.

Muse town­ship’s 105 Mile trad­ing zone, one tar­get of the ini­tial as­sault, is the main trad­ing artery to China, which in turn is Myan­mar’s main ex­port des­ti­na­tion for rice and an ar­ray of other agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

“We heard the sound of explosions three times and over 40 shots. We thought there was fight­ing be­tween the Tat­madaw and the al­liance group in [Muse] town,” Sai Loon Nao, sec­re­tary of the Shan Youth Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Muse), said yes­ter­day of the lat­est de­vel­op­ments.

More than eight clashes took place on Novem­ber 28 across the Shan State town­ships of Kutkai, Muse and Namkham, and Bhamaw/Bhamo town­ship in Kachin State, ac­cord­ing to the North­ern Al­liance, which claimed yes­ter­day that the fight­ing took the lives of some gov­ern­ment troops but none of its own.

Two po­lice of­fi­cers in Kutkai town­ship’s Nant­phatka vil­lage­tract have also gone miss­ing, the mil­i­tary-owned Myawady news out­let re­ported.

Some 2000 civil­ians dis­placed by the re­cent fight­ing re­main trapped in the Hai Kaung area, near the Sino-Myan­mar border be­tween the towns of Pang Sai and Mong Koe.

More than 3000 civil­ians have fled to the China side, while over 700 more have taken tem­po­rary refuge at sev­eral monas­ter­ies in the town of Muse.

China has urged a speedy res­o­lu­tion of the cur­rent con­flict.

U Zaw Min said a lo­cal tally of ca­su­al­ties put the num­ber of civil­ian and gov­ern­ment se­cu­rity per­son­nel fa­tal­i­ties at 16, with 51 peo­ple in­jured over more than a week of hos­til­i­ties.

“Small cabs are ply­ing the Muse-Lashio high­way, but big trucks are still hes­i­tant to go,” said U Hla Aung, a lo­cal taxi driver in Kutkai who trav­elled the route on Novem­ber 28.

“The shops in town open reg­u­larly but they close ear­lier. The con­flict seems to have cre­ated un­ease,” Sai Loon Nao said.

The Joint Strat­egy Team, a group of civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions (CSOs) based in north­ern Shan and Kachin states, has urged “all war­ring par­ties to fully re­spect in­ter­na­tional hu­man­i­tar­ian law, which pro­vides spe­cific mea­sures to pro­tect civil­ians in armed con­flicts”.

The Kachin Peace Net­work re­leased a state­ment call­ing for the im­me­di­ate re­lease of 52 civil­ians that it says were de­tained ar­bi­trar­ily on the day of the ini­tial North­ern Al­liance of­fen­sive and re­main in Tat­madaw cus­tody. The group was tak­ing part in a wed­ding cer­e­mony in Hpau Jung Pa vil­lage on Novem­ber 20 and the “ar­bi­trary de­ten­tion of the civil­ians is a clear sign of breach­ing the Geneva Con­ven­tion”, the state­ment read.

A re­sponse to the Novem­ber 20 of­fen­sive and its af­ter­math from the Union-level gov­ern­ment came on Novem­ber 23 in the form of a state­ment from State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her ca­pac­ity as chair of the Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and Peace Cen­tre.

“At a time when peo­ple of Myan­mar are in [the] process of striv­ing for na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and peace that had re­mained elu­sive to them, it is ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing and sad­den­ing that th­ese in­ci­dents are in­sti­gated,” read her state­ment.

None of the four mem­bers of the North­ern Al­liance is an NCA sig­na­tory, and the TNLA, the MNDAA and the Arakan Army were ef­fec­tively shut out of the peace process by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment, with their sta­tus in terms of fu­ture par­tic­i­pa­tion un­re­solved to date.

‘Se­cu­rity forces tried to stop him after a blast. He didn’t stop and was in­jured be­cause he got shot by se­cu­rity.’

U Zaw Min Muse dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tion head

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