The bodies of four civilians killed when regime forces shelled and shot at a Catholic church in Kayah State on Monday morning have been snatched by soldiers.
The church in Kayan Thaya (South) Village in the state capital Loikaw was providing shelter to civilians after fighting broke out between local civilian resistance forces and regime soldiers in Kong Tha near the village on Sunday night.
During the fighting, another eight civilians were wounded and the church was badly damaged, according to a local resistance member.
Armed clashes between anti-regime Karenni People’s Defense Force (PDF) fighters and junta troops first broke out on Friday. The attack on the church came after nearly 40 regime soldiers were killed by the Karenni PDF and the Karenni Army in the state on Sunday.
“We have learned that they have just left the bodies near their battalions near Loikaw,” a Karenni PDF member said.
“No one dares to pick them up as the soldiers shoot anything that moves,” he added.
To make the situation worse, the regime has imposed differing daytime curfew hours in the region in different areas, making it impossible for rescue teams to venture out. In Phekon, a town just across the state boundary in Shan State, every civilian has to be indoors after 9 a.m., while the Kayah State capital Loikaw is under a curfew starting at 11 a.m.
Regardless of the hours, the majority of the residents have no idea they are under curfew at all, because it wasn’t officially announced, local people said, endangering residents’ lives.
“A man was shot dead in Loikaw yesterday after 12 p.m., as he was outside without knowing it was within the curfew hours,” said a resident. “After the shooting, the soldiers said the town is under curfew,” he added.
At noon Monday, no serious fighting was being reported in the State, with just occasional gunfire from some regime troops being heard. Residential areas are deserted as many people have fled to nearby forests for safety. Only the PDF members remain.
Witnesses said regime cargo planes made two landings at Loikaw’s airport on Monday morning, bringing in reinforcements to Kayah State.
Source: The Irrawaddy