Fighting between the two sides has been going on since the joint revolutionary forces attacked and captured the police station and the Tada outpost in Chaunghnakhwa village, Kyaikmaraw township, Mon State from 10 to 14 November.
The fighting forced thousands of residents to flee and two children have been killed and at least ten homes have been burned down by the junta’s airstrikes.
This interview with a war-displaced person is about the situation of the Chaunghnakhwa battle, people trapped in the battle; the experience in their narrow escape and the needs of humanitarian aid.
TLT – How did the Chaunghnakhwa battle begin? When did the military council start using air strikes?
Local – The artillery shelling started at 4:30 in the morning and continued throughout the day. There was no air strike on November 11. The military fired both heavy and small weapons. I was trapped in the house. No food. No shower. Heavy artillery shelling dropped near my house. The sound is noisy. I just stay silent and hide in a safe place.
TLT: After the battle, how difficult was it for the villagers to escape from being trapped?
Local – We were trapped on 10 and 11 November. I could escape on 12 November morning. When I came out, I looked at the situation and was able to go out, because there was no fighting at that time, so I was going out. It’s lucky that there was no shooting, when I came out from the hide. If there was a shooting, I would not be able to leave.
TLT – Could you please tell me about the damage to homes and civilian casualties during the battle?
Local – The damage is considerable. Some houses have losts no roofs and no walls. There were not many fires on 11. The weapon fell and the houses were damaged. After the villagers left on the 12th, the fires became more intense. The fires started there.
TLT – Could you talk about the difficulties people?
Local – People are suffering very difficulties. Elderly people can’t walk. The sick people are trying to survive in the midst of these voices. It is quite difficult. We can’t even eat food. We can eat only dried noodles, eggs with just what I have. It is not convenient to cook rice and curry. I can’t light the fire. Everything is quiet. No one dares to stay. They dare not do it.
TLT – What kind of air attack did the military council come and shoot?
Local – Airstrikes was stronger on 12 November. It occurred almost all the day. On that day we have already escaped. We did not know exactly where they are shooting from. No one is there anymore. There were great damages.
TLT – What kind of help do the displaced persons need?
Local – People left their homes. Some of them fled to Mudon. Some ran towards the villages where they felt safe. Their immediate needs ae food, groceries, and medicine, while they are taking shelter in makeshift shelters.