Artillery strikes kill young child, displace entire village in Karenni State

Residents have not returned home at the time of reporting out of fear for their safety, instead seeking shelter and holding a funeral for the victim in the forest near the village

Heavy artillery shelling killed an eight-year-old and forced the residents of his village in western Hpruso Township, Karenni State to flee their homes on Saturday, according to local sources. 

The young boy, named Kyaw Naing Soe and also called Paraphe in the village, was playing inside his house when heavy shells landed in the village at around 1pm. Paraphe was hit by shrapnel when the shells exploded, and soon died of his injuries, his older sister said. 

“The shrapnel went right through my brother’s belly and tore up his intestines. Another shell fell in another yard nearby,” Paraphe’s sister told Myanmar Now on Monday.

She added that there had not been recent fighting near the village, the name of which was withheld for security reasons, and that the shelling continued into the evening, forcing all residents from their homes.

“Everyone fled to the forest. We couldn’t even hold a wake for my brother at our house; we had to hold it in the forest,” the young woman said.

The child’s funeral took place on Sunday. Although no one else in the village was injured in the shelling, villagers staying in the forest were experiencing difficulties, according to Paraphe’s sister. 

The 8-year-old victim Kyaw Naing Soe, also called Paraphe (KnHRG)

“It’s hard to find shelter in the forest. We’re in need of shelters,” she said.

Heavy artillery shells fell in another village in western Hpruso Township on Saturday and Sunday evenings, destroying a number of houses, according to a statement released by the Karenni Human Rights Group (KnHRG).

KnHRG believed the shells had been fired from Advanced Military Training Centre No. 14 based in Hpruso, but this was not independently confirmed.

The junta’s air force had also carried out an airstrike on a village in eastern Hpruso Township on October 4, destroying houses and schools.

It has been a month since fighting broke out at the border of Karenni State’s Hpruso and Bawlakhe townships, as the military launched assaults in an attempt to regain control of the area and secure a supply route to the town of Mese, Karenni State.

382 civilians have been killed in Karenni State between the February 2021 coup and late September of this year, of whom 142 died after being forced from their homes, according to information collected and published by the Progressive Karenni People’s Force.

Myanmar Now News