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Mongmit, a Burmese city, left devastated by months of warfare — Radio Free Asia

The city of Mongmit in Myanmar’s Shan state has been devastated by months of intense battles between anti-junta groups and junta forces, resulting in widespread displacement, looting, and arson, according to locals.

Formerly a battleground where the Three Brotherhood Alliance clashed with junta forces, the city is now under junta control. Despite a ceasefire established on Jan. 11, battles continued with the Kachin Independence Army, which did not agree to the ceasefire.

Residents reported that on Jan. 18, the KIA, along with the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front and People’s Defense Forces, briefly took over the city. However, on Jan. 29, junta forces recaptured the city through a fierce counterattack involving airstrikes and heavy artillery, resulting in the destruction of over 200 buildings, including significant structures like the market, monasteries, school, and residential homes.

Following the offensive, nearly 10,000 residents evacuated the city, leaving behind their homes and businesses. The vacant city has since experienced a wave of robberies in urban neighborhoods.

The Kachin Independence Army joint forces and the military junta fought in Mongmit city in northern Shan state on Jan. 28, 2024. (Citizen journalist)

One resident who returned to the city witnessed people looting houses, taking everything and burning homes. Another woman mentioned that almost all the shops in the city had been looted, including hers.

Both Mongmit and its neighboring city Mabein are currently under martial law. Shan state’s junta spokesperson, Khun Thein Maung, did not respond to inquiries from RFA. According to the Shan Human Rights Foundation, heavy artillery and airstrikes resulted in the deaths of 27 civilians between Jan. 1 to Feb. 2, including two mass killings.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Taejun Kang.

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