Junta Water Vessels Shells Village in Kachin State

Burma Army flotillas launched an artillery assault on civilian villages in Kachin State ahead of the arrival of the nine military vessels at the Shwegu boat-yard. The water convoy, laden with food rations and military equipment, was embarking on a journey from Mandalay to Bhamo and passing through Shwegu Township, where the attacks happened.

A local resident, who declined to disclose his real name for security reasons, reported that a 40-year-old woman from Yay Lae sustained shrapnel injuries to her back and arms during the assault.

“Military ships have already reached Shwegu’s port. Prior to their arrival, they bombarded Yay Lae with artillery from the ships,” he said, unsure about the extent of damage but estimating that 100 artillery shells were fired at the village.

“It was a horrific attack!” the man said.

The convoy departed from Katha Township on the morning of August 5 and moored next to Kyauk Gyi on the following evening. These vessels reached the boat-yard in Shwegu town during the morning of 7 August.

“Many locals from Yay Lae, Moesit, and Sintat fled their homes yesterday,” disclosed a local woman from Shwegu town who also requested anonymity. While there were few injuries and no fatalities among residents, the shelling killed some farm animals and damaged residences, she said. The local population has sought the safety of the nearby jungle.

Soldiers accompanied by five military trucks have congregated at the four-road junction in Shwegu town and are preparing to initiate patrols in the northern township.

According to other reports from locals, the vessels transporting a full complement of weapons and food rations have been indiscriminately shelling other villages along the Irrawaddy River since leaving the port in Mandalay in July. Junta ground troops are providing security for the ships along the river, clashing with People’s Defense Forces along the route between Sagaing Region and Kachin State. During the previous attacks, the regime killed four civilians from Htigyaing Township, five in In-drang, two in Kyauk Htogyi, and one in Palet Shwe in Katha Township.

The Burma army relies on waterways to transport food rations, weapons, and military equipment to Kachin State, as resistance groups frequently ambush its military vehicle convoys on land routes. Consequently, when military ships travel from Mandalay to Bhamo, residents residing along the Irrawaddy River’s banks in Htigyaing and Katha Townships in Sagaing Region, as well as Shwegu and Bhamo Townships in Kachin State, are compelled to evacuate their homes due to the Burma army soldiers’ use of artillery on the civilian settlements.

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