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March 2, 2024

Junta shells kill 2 women in Sagaing region village

Two women have become the latest victims of the Myanmar military’s attempt to seize control of townships controlled by pro-democracy People’s Defense Forces.

In Sagaing region, the junta imposed martial law and curfews on 11 heavily-defended townships this month, one of which was targeted by artillery on Wednesday night.

Four shells landed near the home of 40-year-old Khin Htoo, three of which exploded.

“I heard the sound of artillery but one shell did not explode,” her husband, 42-year-old Min Lwin, told RFA.

“My family went into the house and crawled under the bed. Then another shell landed and exploded, killing my wife.”

Another woman, 55-year-old Sein Yi was also killed. Two men, 60-year-old Nyunt Win, and 19-year-old Ye Naing Win were injured, residents said.

Fragments of a shell fired by junta troops on Zee Kan village, Ye-U township, Sagaing region on Feb. 8 2023. Credit: Ye-U township People’s Defense Force

Calls to junta spokesman for Sagaing region, Aye Hlaing, went unanswered for a third day.

Local politician Myint Htwe told RFA he thinks the junta shouldn’t target residential areas with heavy artillery, and instead restrict shelling to the battlefield.

Raids on villages in Khin-U township on Wednesday and Thursday forced 6,000 residents to flee their homes. Khin-U is also under martial law as of this month.

The junta is trying to wrest back control of areas of Sagaing and other regions across the country after extending its State of Emergency for another six months on Feb.1, the second anniversary of the coup which toppled the democratically elected National Unity Government. 

The military says it wants to hold national elections this year but has passed laws rendering it almost impossible for other political parties to participate. 

The National League for Democracy has refused to take part in the registration process. It won a landslide victory in the 2020 general election only to be ousted the following year.

Nearly 3,000 civilians, including pro-democracy activists, have been killed since the 2021 coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma).

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.

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