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A two-year-old infant was killed and two other children critically wounded when an artillery shell landed in a village in Muse Township on Saturday, according to local relief workers.
Mary Tawm works for Kachin relief group Wunpawng Ninghtoi, which assists those displaced by fighting between Burmese government forces and ethnic militias in the area. She said that government troops allegedly shelled the village of Wupan in Mongko village-tract early on Saturday morning.
“The Tatmadaw [Burmese army] fired six artillery rounds around six in the morning [on 1 October] and two landed right in the centre of the village, hitting three children who were outside playing,” she told DVB.
“Two-year-old Zon Miaw got hit by shrapnel in his head and neck. He died on the way to a hospital across the border in China. The other two – a three- and a five-year-old – are in critical condition but receiving treatment at the same hospital.”
She added that some 200 residents of Wupan have since fled their homes to seek shelter in nearby villages, fearing more attacks.
Local sources say a Tatmadaw unit that has set up position on a hilltop next to the village was responsible for the shelling. However, army officials reportedly visited the village on Saturday evening and denied that their unit had carried out the attack.
Meanwhile, the UN childrens agency UNICEF expressed its “deep concern and sadness” over the death of the infant and the injured children.
“Conflicts take a high toll on children in Myanmar,” said Bertrand Bainvel, the UNICEF representative to Myanmar, in a statement on Monday. “All parties to the conflict must keep children out of harm’s way.”