Children hit by artillery in northern Shan State

By AFP

YANGON — A two-year-old girl was killed and two children injured Saturday after their village was hit by heavy artillery in Myanmar’s rebel-held north, an activist and local resident said, the latest violence to threaten the new government’s peace bid.

The shots were reportedly fired in Pu Wang village in northern Shan State, an area bordering China where ethnic minority rebels are locked in a long-running battle with the Myanmar army.  

Sporadic clashes in the region have displaced tens of thousands of people and dampened enthusiasm for a peace push driven by Myanmar’s new leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

“It happened in the morning today when these three children were playing. Six powerful shots were fired into the village,” Ying Sau, a pastor in the ethnic Kachin village, told AFP.

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His nephew’s two-year-old daughter was killed, while two children, ages 5 and 6, were injured and taken across the border to a hospital in China, he said.

Khon Ja, an activist from the Kachin Peace Network, also reported the death and posted photos on Facebook of the injured children receiving treatment in China’s Yunnan province.

Both blamed the heavy firing on the Myanmar Armed Forces, which AFP could not reach for comment.

The US Embassy in Yangon said in a statement Friday it was “deeply concerned” by ongoing fighting in Kachin, a state just north of the town where the children were hit Saturday.

“The increase in conflict in this area has led to suffering and dislocation of local populations. It also has the potential to undermine the progress and goodwill generated by the recent Union Peace Conference,” the embassy said.

Around 100,000 people are currently displaced in Shan and Kachin states due to the violence, according to UN figures.

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