Mortars and Airstrikes Kill and Injure Men, Women, and Children as Burma Army Attacks Civilians in Their Homes

Karen State, Burma

**Disturbing Content Warning

Heavy fighting in western Karen State continues and civilians living in the area suffer as they are caught in the crossfire or directly targeted by the Burma Army. February saw increased frequency in attacks resulting in more civilian casualties. The Burma Army favored mortar attacks and did irrevocable damage to villages targeted. Constant shelling from February 10 to February 12 destroyed Nyaung Bin Gyi Village while injuring three women and displacing 745 people. On February 18, Burma Army mortars killed a 38-year-old woman, Ma Myit Myit San, and injured her two children, her 12-year-old daughter, Nay Nya Mo, and her five-year-old son. On February 23, Burma Army mortars launched into Myaw Bin Gyi Village injured two young men, including 17-year-old Rhein Aung, and a woman, Naw Hset Poe, and killed two women, 35-year-old Naw Thu Za Nwe and 66-year-old Naw Ma Tu. These attacks, along with more listed in the incident summary, have displaced over 2162 families and 11020 people.

December and January also saw attacks on villagers, with civilians killed and wounded and property destroyed. Seven different villages were shelled by Burma Army mortars, with a school campus in Ta Kaut Pwa targeted on December 22. Airstrikes, ground troops and artillery have all been used in fighting over the last two months. The Shwe Gyin Road is a focal point for conflict as resistance forces attempt to cut off supplies to Burma Army camps. 

On December 15, Burma Army troops entered the village of Lin Bin Wei and opened fire upon the villagers. A 50-year-old man, Kyaw Soe, was killed and Daw Nge, a 48-year-old woman, was injured. The Burma Army also killed village livestock. On December 17, a building in Lin Bin Wei was destroyed by a mortar. 744 people were displaced from the Lin Bin Wei Village alone. On January 22, Burma Army troops captured two villagers from Toe Ta Dah Village, Saw Eh Htoo and Pa Chit, and imprisoned them in the Tha Seik camp. 

In conjunction with local leaders, FBR teams in the area provided what help they could in the form of medical care, food, supplies, and Good Life Clubs.

Burma Army bridge along the Baw Ga Ta – Shwe Gyin Road, destroyed by KNLA.
A Ranger interviews a group of IDPs.
FBR-trained medics offer aid to IDPs from Kale Maw, Ma Pee Poe and Ma Pee Doh villages.
Rangers do Good Life Club with children from Kaw Tha Say Village.
Food distribution to IDPs.
IDPs from Kaw Tha Say make camp where they can.
Burma Army truck destroyed by resistance forces.
Tarps given by FBR to the villagers at Toe Ta Dah.
47-year-old Saw Kya Luu who was killed by a Burma Army mortar on February 7.
36-year-old Ba Tha Tha was wounded in her calf by a Burma Army mortar on February 11.
38-year-old Ma Myit Myit San was killed by a Burma Army on February 18.
FBR distributes food to Nge Pae In IDPs.
25-year-old Naw Thu Za Nwe was killed by a Burma Army mortar on February 23.
17-year-old Rhein Aung is tended to by FBR medics after being injured in a mortar attack on February 23.

Incidents Summary:

3 December: Burma Army jets dropped six bombs on the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) 9th Battalion (BN) location. Two bombs were dropped in front of the Ler Wah District Office and four were dropped on the 7th BN HQ between 1700 and 1800.

7 December: KNLA and Burma Army clashed at Toe Ta Dah Village. Two Burma Army trucks carrying soldiers arrived at Toe Ta Dah Village. After offloading soldiers, the trucks returned to Shwe Gyin carrying the replaced Burma Army soldiers.

15 December: Two Burma Army battalions are based at Tha Seik Burma Army Camp, Infantry Battalion (IB) 75 and Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 603. IB 75 is led by Deputy Battalion Commander Kyaw Thu Htun and LIB 603 is led by Burma Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Kyaw Thet Oo. The combined troop size is over 70 soldiers. IB 75 reinforced Toe Ta Dah Burma Army Camp.

Burma Army troops entered the village of Lin Bin Wei located in Ler Doh Township, whereupon they opened fired amongst the villagers present. Kyaw Soe, a 50-year-old man, was killed and Daw Nge, a 48-year-old woman, was injured. Additionally, two cows were injured and one pig was killed. Within the Lin Bin Wei Village area there are now 162 families comprising 744 people hiding in the jungle.

Burma Army troops from Yin Oh Sein fired mortar rounds into Ta Kaut Pwa Village.

17 December: Burma Army troops fired mortars into Lin Bin Wei Village, destroying one building.

18 December: Local community leaders provided assistance to 99 families from Toe Ta Dah Village. Each family was given one big tarp, donated by the Free Burma Rangers.

19 December: Burma Army troops reinforced Toe Ta Dah Camp then continued to Baw Ga Ta, where they were attacked by local resistance forces at Tha Yet Pin.

22 December: Burma Army fired mortar rounds into the school campus located in Ta Kaut Pwa Village.

26 December: The KNLA destroyed a bridge the Burma Army was attempting to rebuild, located near Tha Yet Pin along the Baw Ga Ta – Shwe Gyin Road.

5 January: Burma Army IB 124 from Kler Soe fired four mortar rounds into Kge Der Village and two rounds into Pa Kaw Kee Village.

6 January: Burma Army trucks carrying food for their camps were attacked by local resistance forces. Two drivers were killed and the truck was rendered inoperable.

7 January: Resistance forces attacked Burma Army trucks moving rice to Burma Army troops. The trucks continued to move food despite the attacks.

16 January: FBR conducted a GLC program and clinic for IDPs near Kaw Tha Say Village.

19 January: Burma Army troops fired over 20 mortars into Noh Guu Village.

21 January: Burma Army troops from Kyauk Kyi and Thi Cha Seik camps fired about 40 mortar rounds into the Noh Ko Tee and Pa Na Wah Plaw village areas.

22 January: Burma Army troops captured two villagers from Toe Ta Dah Village, Saw Eh Htoo and Pa Chit, and brought them to Tha Seik Burma Army Camp.

23 January: Burma Army troops from Ka Nyi Jo fired 6 mortars into Hay Tha Wei Village.

25 January: Burma Army troops clashed with the KNLA as the Burma Army tried to move wounded soldiers to Shwe Gyin. Burma Army shells from long range mortars fell into Klay Maw Koh Village.

26 January: FBR performed Good Life Clubs and provided medical care for Kale Maw, Ma Pee Poe and Ma Pee Doh villagers. 

29 January: Burma Army and Karen National Defense Organization (KNDO) clashed while Burma Army tried to move supplies from Hsaw Mee Lu to Mu Thae. Burma Army burned down two houses in Muthae Village in retaliation. 

2 February: Burma Army shelled the Ler Doh Township. A villager from Kyi Suu was injured in the arm by a mortar.

3 February: Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 439 shelled the Mone Township. 2677 villagers from Mye Tha Ya, Wei Gyi, Nyaung Bin Hseit, Myet Yae, and Lae Pa fled from the area.

7 February: Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 439 and Infantry Battalion 35 used 60mm mortars to shell Yin Darin Goe, killing Bin Suu Saw Kya Luu (47) and wounding Saw Na Htoo (36) and Saw Htiet Za Oo (30). The shelling resulted in 1374 new IDPs.

February 8: Rangers provide medical care to IDPs fleeing from Mone Township.

February 10: Every night and morning from February 10 to February 12, the Burma Army lauched mortars from Pa Zoe Myaw on to Nyaung Bin Gyi Village. On February 11, three women were injured: Baw Su (40) was hit in her neck, Ma You Soe Aye (20) was hit in her torso, and Ba Tha Tha (36) was hit in her calf. The shelling also destroyed houses there.

February 11: Burma Army reinforced Aye Wei with soldiers, heavy weapons, and small arms.

February 15: Burma Army jets dropped bombs on Thaw Tuu Day and the Ther Thaw Mu area along with the CDM and PDF base. No casualties.

February 16: 100 Burma Army horses left Muthae moving to Paw Kay Koh. Burma Army bulldozer arrived at Kler Soe camp.

February 17: Burma Army jets fired guns and dropped 2 bombs each on Thaw Tuu Day and Ther Thaw Mu.

February 18: At 7:00pm, Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 599 mortared Za Wei Village, killing a woman, Ma Myit Myit San (38), and injuring her 2 children, her daughter, Nay Nya Mo (12), and a 5-year-old son.

February 19: Burma Army supply trucks left Shwe Gyin town to deliver supplies to Tha Seik camp.

February 20: FBR gathered rice for IDPs and worked to create a water supply.

February 21: At 5:00am a Burma Army drone dropped a bomb into Nyaung Bin Gyi, wounding 2 soldiers and killing 1.

February 22: FBR distributed rice and other supplies to IDPs living in Nge Pae In.

February 23: At 3:00pm, the Burma Army mortared Myaw Bin Gyi, injuring 2 villagers, Rhein Aung (17) and Naw Hair Poe, and killing 2 women, Thu Za Nwe (35) and Naw Mat Tu (66). The attack also destroyed villager homes.

February 24: Two women whose husbands were taken by the Burma Army and tortured on Jan. 22, 2023, received help for themselves and their children by village leadership.

February 27: The Burma Army shelled Raw Kyaw Pauk Village, injuring 5 villagers.

Thank you and God bless,

Free Burma Rangers