Burma Army soldiers based at the Paw Khay Kho military camp in Mutraw district fired twelve artillery shells into Yeh Mu Plaw, Tae Boe Plaw and Saw Mu Plaw villages around 4:30pm on April 8. The shelling killed Saw Ki Bu, from May Pwae Hta village in Yeh Mu Plaw village tract in Lu Thaw Township, Mutraw (Papun) district.
The Burma military kept up its air campaign, scaring villagers said fighter jets made two flights on Thursday over the KNU’s 5th Brigade headquarters near Day Bu Noe village. Fighters jets bombed Day Bu Noe twice, on 27 March and April 1, killing three and injuring eight civilians. The Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN), has recorded, since March 27 the bombings attacks have now killed 21 and wounded 27 villagers.
Villagers have little or no protection against Burma Army shelling or night time bombing raids. The airstrikes and mortar shelling have destroyed schools, health clinics and forced at least 20,000 people into jungle hideouts.
Burma Army checkpoints and restrictions on the Thai border has prevented regular aid shipments getting through to the displaced people desperate in need of shelter, food, medicine and protection.
Hsa Moo, a KESAN member, who is closely monitoring the situation on the ground, told Karen News the Burma army is intensifying its military offensives in Mutraw (Papun) district.
“The Burma army are sending reinforcements from many different locations to Mutraw District through the Pa-an district [in the south], through Brigade 1 (Thaton district) [in the south-west] and through Papun town [in the west]. There is a great concern that the fighting in Mutraw will only get worse.”
Hsa Moo said the Burma Army indiscriminate shelling is intentionally targeting villages and workplaces to drive people out of their homes.
“They assume if there are Karen villages, there will be Karen soldiers. So, to drive their enemy out, they also clear out all the civilians. This has been their tactic.”
Since the military took power in a coup d’état on February 1, the Karen National Union have recorded more than 200 armed clashes in its Thaton District (Brigade 1), Taw Oo (Taungoo) District (Brigade 2), KlerLweeHtoo (Nyaunglebing – Brigade 3), Megui/Tavoy District (Brigade 4), Mutraw (Papun- Brigade 5), Doo Pla Ya District (Brigade 6) and PaAn District (Brigade 7) areas.
The KNU said that in the seven districts under their control, the Burma Army offensives have displaced as many as 30,000 people.