Mass Exodus from Shwegyin as 30,000 Residents Flee Amidst Shelling and Airstrikes by Military Council, Says KNU

A total of 29,812 people across 31 Karen villages have been forced to flee their homes in Shewgyin (Sawhti) Township, located in the Nyaunglebin District, under the control of the 3rd Brigade of the Karen National Union (KNU) due to shelling and airstrikes conducted by Junta forces Military Council throughout 2023 according to KNU.

Throughout the year, the Military Council’s 20th, 598th, 351st, and 589th Light Infantry Battalions, along with the 75th and 264th Infantry Battalions stationed in Nyaunglebin, discharged a total of 86 artillery rounds during 25 instances of shelling targeted at villages in Shewgyin. Various types of artillery were employed during these incidents, KNU said.

“We’ve witnessed human rights violations by the Military Council in all seven districts within KNU-controlled areas, including Sawhti. These abuses have got worse from Thaton District of the 1st Brigade to Dooplaya District of the 6th Brigade. Shelling, airstrikes, killing, looting, and employing civilians as human shields are all routine violations in Karen State since the coup”, Saw Nanda Hsue, spokesperson of the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), which monitors and records human rights violations in the southeastern regions of Myanmar, said.

Human rights violations did not start after the Military Council staged the coup, but had been occurring since the time of previous Juntas. However officials responsible for these violations have consistently evaded any accountability or punishment, he added.

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