By Kantarawaddy Times
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Civilians have fled advancing Burma Army (BA) troops following fighting with Karenni Army (KA) and Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) in Bawlakhe and Hprasu townships.
A villager told Kantarawaddy Times they have been forced to flee because the military has refused to withdraw and now sending reinforcements. “We try to bring as many things with us as we can…we will have a problem getting food and shelter.”
A thirty-minute clash broke out after Karenni soldiers ambushed about 200 LID-66 Burma Army (BA) soldiers entering Nam Hpe and Kali Lyar villages at 4pm on July 18. The villager said the military employed heavy weapons during the firefight. Later, BA indiscriminately attacked villages with artillery until the following morning. The violence drove out residents from four villages in the area.
In neighbouring Hpruso Township, residents from six villages in Taw Khu village tract fled after the military dispatched soldiers to the area.
On July 16, another short firefight took place near Nam Hpe with fifty BA troops, according to KNDF’s information department. A villager told Kantarawaddy Times they heard rifle fire and heavy weapons at 3pm.
A KNDF officer explained the conflict happened after BA launched an offensive in KA territory. There were several BA causalities, the officer said, but could not specify exactly how many perished in the fighting. According to the officer, no Karenni soldiers were wounded or killed.
About 8,000 villagers affected by fighting on July 12 in Loi Len Lay sub-township, Loikaw Township, urgently require emergency assistance.
In western Demawso Township, about 200 civilians displaced by violence between BA and Peoples Defence Force a month ago are facing the most miserable of conditions in a squalid and overcrowded camp in the middle of the rainy season. They only received aid once. Now they are short of everything: food, clean drinking water, medicine, and material for their shelters.
Some don’t even have a roof. For others who do, the rain is coming through the holes in the plastic that covers their shelters. Many of the women and children are malnourished and have diarrhoea. Strange skin rashes have appeared on their bodies, but they do not have medicine to treat it or for the diarrhoea because there is only aspirin left in the camp.