A destroyed house in Moebye after the town was targeted by air and artillery strikes last week. / Photo- Karenni's Voice
Myanmar junta forces reportedly used around 100 civilians as human shields during a raid on Monday on Moebye Town in southern Shan State.
Two Myanmar military columns with armored vehicles raided Moebye early Monday morning at 2am, after pounding the town with artillery fire for an hour, said the Moebye-People’s Defense Force (PDF).
The junta raid came a week after military regime forces were forced to retreat from Moebye after taking heavy casualties during four days of intense clashes with resistance groups.
On Monday, a combined force of PDFs and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), including the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) and the Karenni Army, attacked junta soldiers trying to raid the town.
During the firefight, two resistance fighters were killed and another suffered serious injuries, said Moebye-PDF. Junta casualties are unknown.
Resistance groups said that regime forces used around 100 civilians trapped in two monasteries in Moebye as human shields to deter PDF attacks.
“People are trapped in the religious buildings. They are not allowed by junta forces to leave the town. Regime forces are using those civilians as human shields while they are deploying there,” a KNDF spokesperson told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.
He added that large numbers of regime troops, many wearing civilian clothes, have deployed across much of the town.
Moebye-PDF urged residents to be aware that fresh fighting may break out in Moebye.
Last Friday, four civilians including two children were killed in the town when junta forces shelled a religious building sheltering displaced people, according to Mobye Rescue Team, which helps refugees in the town.
The rescue team said also that nine displaced people were injured by regime artillery strikes.
Fierce clashes took place in Moebye from September 8 to 11 when PDFs and EAOs attacked regime soldiers attempting to occupy the town.
Around 85 junta troops and two resistance fighters were reportedly killed in the clashes, while some 50 resistance fighters were wounded.
An 8-year-old child was also killed and over 100 houses were destroyed by junta artillery and airstrikes,
Regime forces have escalated their indiscriminate attacks on both civilians and resistance targets nationwide amid near-daily attacks from PDFs and EAOs.