March Update: Burma Army Massacres 22 Civilians at Monastery as Campaign of Terror Continues in Southern Shan and Karenni States.

Karenni and Southern Shan States, Burma

1 April 2023

March saw the Burma Army take its violence to a new extreme when Burma Army troops massacred civilians hiding in a monastery in Nam Neint Village, Shan State; 22 people were killed, including three monks. On the morning of March 11, in the face of an oncoming Burma Army attack, most of the villagers fled the village entirely. Around 22 people stayed and sought refuge in the monastery’s basement but were discovered and killed as the troops moved through the village. The bodies, with gunshot wounds to the head, were found the next day. Approximately 1,400 residents fled their homes and sought shelter elsewhere. The military also carried out airstrikes in the area and burned down a significant number of houses.

In Pekon Township, southern Shan State, and in Demoso Township, Karenni State, heavy fighting has left the civilian population displaced. In general, the fighting has been concentrated in the eastern side of these areas and has caused the displacement of the civilian population, which is now moving to the west. The Burma Army continued to use fighter jets, helicopters, and mortars to attack the resistance with little or no regard for the civilian populations in the area. Overall, in March, FBR teams reported 17 wounded civilians and 29 killed, either directly or by indirect fire. The FBR teams in the area are assisting in the relocation of IDPs to safer locations in the west of Pekon and Demoso townships. The FBR teams partnered with local community service organizations to provide transportation, medical services, and medical supplies to those displaced and fleeing to safer areas. 

Below is a log of Burma Army and relief team activities from March:

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IDPs huddle together on a raft to cross the Pon River to flee fighting.

31 March 2023: The Burma Army mortared the west side of Pekon Township, Taungsalone Village, more than ten times beginning at 1230. The attack caused minimal damage to civilian infrastructure.  

30 March 2023: The Burma Army used mortars and a fighter jet to attack Htee Poe Ka Lo Village at 1310.  One man was killed when the building he was in was damaged in the attack. Another man, Poe Reh, was wounded in the leg.

29 March 2023: A battle occurred between the Burma Army and a coalition of resistance forces (Karenni Army and Karenni National Defense Force (KNDF)) near Hta Ne La Leh Village. The Karenni Ranger teams evacuated three individuals injured in the clash. Two had gunshot wounds in the shoulder and the other in the leg. 

28 March 2023: At 1800 the Burma Army completed two air strikes on Daw Yaut Khu Village. Two people were injured. 

27 March 2023: At 0600, the Burma Army, Battalion 530, fired mortars into Loi Lin Ward, damaging and destroying civilians’ homes in the Loi Lin Lai Ward. Lin Pong Gyi Village, Nanghu Village, and Kommiko Village were also damaged or destroyed. No civilian injuries were reported. 

27 March 2023: Karenni Ranger team helped move sixteen IDPs from Camp No (3) Pong Stream to west Demoso.

Karenni Ranger teams load trucks with IDPs’ personal effects.

24 March 2023: The Burma Army entered the western part of Lwal Hwal Village, in Pekon Township, at 0400; this move was accompanied by five supporting airstrikes from Burma Army fighter jets.

26 March 2023: The Burma Army moved from Da Ni Lar Lel Village and was confronted by the KNDF (B-09, B-10, and KA). The two forces clashed, and the Burma Army shelled Da Ni Lel Village.

25 March 2023: There was a battle in Dawramagyi, east of Demoso, Karenni State. Karenni Rangers assisted in rescuing wounded soldiers from the front line. 

23 March 2023: Burma Army air attack in the afternoon killed three civilians and injured eight near Wanbala Village, Bawlake Township. These casualties were men, aged 40-50, who work in the wood industry. The attack took place at 1330, and the attack jet fired five times.  

19 March 2023 – 22 March 2023: Fighting near Tanilarle damaged religious buildings, and civilian homes were destroyed. The Burma Army also set fire to homes in Dawramagyi. The Karenni Ranger teams helped the civilians in the area as they attempted to put out the fires. 

20 March 2023: From 1900 – 2000 the Burma Army fired artillery into the villager of Taung Salone. The attack destroyed two homes. 

17 March 2023: The Burma Army’s presence in the village of Dawtanaw Village has scared the surrounding civilian population. The Karenni Ranger team partnered with the Karenni State Police (KSP) and two other community service organizations (CSOs) to evacuate and relocate IDPs in Dawtanaw Village to a location in Pruso.

16 March 2023: A battle near Yay Ni Paut village destroyed a total of twenty houses and a monastery. The Burma Army clashed with resistance forces in Yay Ni Paut and Mai Htam villages. The clash has caused the civilian population to flee. 

16 March 2023: At 1640 the Burma Army destroyed Pa Laung and Dawtayoe villages in the eastern part of Loikaw Township. The attack destroyed five homes, a school, and a preschool. The attack displaced the villagers in the area.

16 March 2023: The Karenni Rangers transported IDPs from Dawlawkhu and DawTaDa IDP camps to a location to the west of Pruso. The teams made several more trips to evacuate the entirety of the IDP population. 

16 March 2023: Karenni Rangers helped to evacuate Pon Stream Camp (1, 2, 3, and 4), East Pon Stream, and Daw Nyae Khu village to the west Side of Demoso.

16 March 2023: The Burma Army conducted an air strike on Da Ni Lar Lel Village in eastern Demoso using a Mi-35 attack plane. There were no reported injuries. 

16 March 2023: The KNDF (battalions 5, 6, 7, and 9) confronted and surrounded the Burma Army, causing them to call in an attack jet, Mi-35. The attack jet made a strafing run. The Karenni Ranger team evacuated three villagers from Daw Lye Khu Village, East Demoso, to West Demoso. The first was a 58-year-old male who was injured by a landmine.The Burma Army’s presence in Dotamagyi Village has caused the displacement of civilians in the surrounding areas. The Karenni Ranger teams moved IDPs from Daw Ta Char to an unidentified location.

FBR teams drive a truck with IDPs and their belongings to an undisclosed location.

16 March 2023: At 0300, the Burma Army moved from Bawran Village. At 0500, they fought with local resistance fighters and five Burma Army casualties were reported.

15 March 2023: The Karenni and Shan Ranger teams provided the IDP camp in Latain with medication. 

15 March 2023: The Burma Army, Infantry Battalion (427), Division (55, 66, 77) (150 troops), is located in East Demoso near the village of Daw Sel. Burma Army, Infantry Battalion 102, shelled the area surrounding the village of Daw Sel fourteen times. The attack damaged a monastery. At 0930 in the morning, the Burma Army moved from Daw Sel Village to Da Ni Lar Lal Village, an area very close to IDP camps. The KNDF moved into the area to protect the IDPs, and a large clash occurred. The Burma Army moved back around 1800. The Burma Army’s presence near Da Ni Lar Lal Village has caused civilians in Da Ni Lar Lal Village and Boe Lyar Village to flee. Karenni Rangers help moved the IDPs to the west of Demoso. The first round of IDPs evacuated were being displaced for the second time. They were originally displaced from Daw Sel Village and Daw Ta Ngue Village. The Karenni Ranger team also helped villagers displaced for the first time from the village of Daw Ta Char. The Ranger teams moved a total of 200 people. 

Displaced children sit on top of their families’ belongings and prepare to be evacuated to a safer location. 
Moving IDPs to a safer location. 

15 March 2023:The Burma Army mortared Dhani La Le IDP camp in East Demoso and then fired 12 times. The Burma Army’s presence caused the IDPs in this camp to flee. The KNDF engaged the Burma Army as they attempted to move towards Dotamagyi.

14 March 2023, Dotamagyi Area, East Demoso, Karenni State: Karenni Rangers evacuated IDPs from Pon River Camp No (1,2,3,4) to West Demoso. At 1310, the Burma Army used a fighter jet to bomb the junction of the Pon River and Dotamagyi main road. The Burma Army shelled the area two times. 

14 March 2023: A Karenni Ranger team assisted and rescued a woman who was injured by Burma Army mortar fire at 1745 in Pa Sae La Village, west of Demoso.

Karenni Rangers use a raft to move IDPs over the Pon River to safety. 

14 March 2023: At 1310, the Burma Army dropped two bombs from an attack jet, at the intersection of Pon River and Dotamagyi Road.

14 March 2023. The Karenni Rangers are assisting with the relocation of the IDPs in Panchung 1, 2, 3, and 4 camps to the west side of Pruso. 

This home was destroyed by the bombs dropped from a Burma Army attack plane.
A raft is used to move IDPs across the Pon River as they flee from fighting in their villages.

13 March 2023: The Karenni Ranger teams helped move IDPs from Panchung Camp No. 4 and Camp No. 2. Some of the IDPs have crossed over the eastern side of the Pon River. IDPs were helped by the Karenni Ranges and moved to the west side of Demoso. 

12 March 2023: At 1900, the Burma Army fired 122mm mortars into the mountain village of Lay Tong on the eastern side of Pekon. The attack killed three people their bodies were found burned near their tent. 

12 March 2023: The Ranger team reached the monastery in Nan Nane VIllage, Pin Long Township, in Southern Shan. The Ranger team reported that 22 civilians were executed by the Burma Army (three Buddhist monks, 18 civilian males, and one civilian female). The Rangers reported that increased fighting in East Demoso has displaced 6,000 people. 

Image of civilians executed by the Burma Army. 

11 March 2023: The Karenni Ranger team reported that 300 soldiers from Burma Army Infantry BN (429) and the 77th Division marched to Dotamagyii and Daw Nyae Khu Village in the morning. The Karenni Army and the KNDF joined forces on the western side of Panchung No. 4 IDP camp and No. 2 IDP camp. It was reported that three civilians from Daw Nyae Khu Village were trapped in the village. The FBR team rescued a 70-year-old grandfather who was left behind in Dotamagyii Village.

11 – 12 March 2023. The Burma Army (No 14) located in Pruso Township fired more than 10 mortars between 1300 and 1400. They targeted the village of Keylyer on the eastern side of Pruso. The attack damaged a school and homes and injured an elderly woman. The fighting on the east side of Demoso and Pruso has made it difficult for IDPs to move and has left IDPs trapped in the middle of the conflict. 

9 March 2023. A large battle began between the KNDF/PDF and the Burma Army near the village of Nam Neint in southern Shan State. Initial reports were that the battle caused around 30 civilians to be trapped in a monastery. The Karenni team attempted to rescue them, but heavy mortar fire by the Burma Army pushed them back. This turned out to be the initial attack that ended with the massacre of 22 civilians.

Thank you and God bless,

Free Burma Rangers