(Rangoon) A convoy carrying ASEAN diplomats was targeted by gunfire on Sunday morning in Burma, ahead of an ASEAN summit in Indonesia, military and diplomatic sources said on Monday.
A group of several vehicles was “attacked” on Sunday morning by an armed group while transiting Taunggyi town in eastern Shan State, a foreign diplomat based in Shan State told AFP. Yangon, on condition of anonymity.
A senior army officer, who also requested anonymity, confirmed to AFP that a convoy had indeed been targeted by firearms.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo spoke on Monday of a “shooting” on the route of the convoy on its way to “distribute humanitarian aid”, without giving further details.
The convoy was carrying representatives from the embassies of Indonesia and Singapore as well as officials from the ASEAN regional office responsible for humanitarian aid, the diplomatic source said.
No casualties have been identified, added the same source.
Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN) — regularly criticized for its inaction in Burma — are due to meet on the island of Flores, Indonesia, from Tuesday to Thursday. The conflict in Burma will be a major theme there.
The Indonesian and Singaporean embassies in Yangon did not immediately respond to AFP’s requests.
The violence spreading across Burma since the coup in 2021 has relatively little affected southern Shan State, where Taunggyi is located.
But in March, around 30 people taking refuge in a monastery were killed in the region, with the military junta and the anti-junta rebels blaming each other.
ASEAN’s efforts to find a way out of the crisis have so far remained fruitless, with the military regime remaining deaf to international condemnations and refusing to speak with its opponents, including former parliamentarians, the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) — the new pro-democracy opposition – and armed groups from ethnic minorities.