9 year old girl killed during fighting at Three Pagodas Pass

November 10, 2010

WCRP: A 9-year-old girl was hit in the spine and killed by shrapnel from an explosion at around 4pm yesterday in Three Pagodas Pass. The explosion was caused by a shell fired from a State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) mortar at Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) rebels and landed on the ground amidst civilians caught between the two forces while attempting to escape from the fighting.

A monk at the monastery located near to where the girl was hit explained, “DKBA soldiers were near to the village and the SPDC were outside the village. The SPDC soldiers are firing on them with very big weapons. The girl was near to the DKBA soldiers. This is how we know that she was hit by the SPDC soldiers and not the DKBA.”

The girl and her mother had spent the previous night at the monastery for safety and were attempting to flee to the mountains to escape the fighting when they found themselves caught in the crossfire between SPDC and DKBA forces.

The girl did not die immediately and though her mother attempted to take her to the Thai border in the hopes of getting medical treatment, the fighting continued for another hour and a half, preventing them from moving. By the time the fighting had eased at around 5:30pm it was too late.

Fighting broke out between the SPDC and DKBA splinter groups in Myawaddy and Three Pagodas Pass after the elections held on 7 November. The DKBA has enjoyed relatively friendly relations with the SPDC since they broke away from the Karen National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Karen National Union, in 1994 and signed a ceasefire agreement with the SPDC. After the elections held last Sunday, however, which were widely condemned as a sham designed to maintain military rule with a civilian front, a number of DKBA splinter groups engaged in heavy fighting with government troops and took control of key locations in Myawaddy and Three Pagodas Pass.

Tens of thousands of refugees have flooded across the border into Thailand to escape the fighting.

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