Thousands of civilians have fled indiscriminate artillery attacks by the Burma Army (BA) following attacks by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the People’s Defence Force in Hpakant Township.
More than 4,000 people fled junta shelling around Sel Zin village between 9 and 11 August, including more than 300 miners from 20 gold mining blocks, and found refuge in Tarmakhan.
The number of displaced people is increasing day by day. In Sel Zin, BA soldiers have burnt down 67 houses and all 4,000 inhabitants have fled. Three hundred residents who were trapped in a Buddhist monastery after the soldiers came to the village have recently been freed.
A Sel Zin man, who left before the army arrived, said: “We’ll return if they (army) leave our village. Our houses are already burnt down and we have to rebuild everything.”
Last Friday, the junta flew about 60 troops by helicopter to Pan Chay on the border of Hpakant Township and Sagaing Region to support their soldiers attacking KIA Brigade 9 (Battalion 26) in the township. The conflict in the area has intensified since the KIA raided BA and Shanni Nationalities Army camps near Sel Zin a week ago.
Gold mining blocks affected by the violence are Wei Hong, Pinyakhan, Mawkaday, Kanyin Pyan, Nat Sel, Chan Thar Aye, Chan Thar Kon, Kyauk Pon, Wei Maw Awng, Letkhat, Pyaswel, Shwe Bawkyun, Num Kok, Tepatawng, Nauk Kan Tha, Seik Khao, Nam Pok, Yakhine Kon and Wei Kam.