Fighting Drives Out 10,000 Villagers In Pekon Township

By Kantarawaddy Times

Tens of thousands of villagers from Pekon Township are fleeing clashes between junta forces and civilian resistance groups. Already 14 villages have been affected by the fighting that has broken out every day for more than a week.

A Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) officer told Kantarawaddy Times that fighting has intensified in the township in southern Shan State, with many houses destroyed and at least two civilians injured by indiscriminate shelling by the Burma Army. In addition, one Karenni Army (KA) soldier was killed.

According to the KNDF, at least 31 Burma Army (BA) soldiers were killed and many wounded in the conflict.

“We need a lot of things and that includes more weapons and ammunition,” the KNDF officer said. The military is attacking us and the KA and the Pekon People’s Defence Force with artillery, but we have no long-range weapons to counterattack, he said. This conflict will not stop until the BA ends its offensive in Pekon, the Karenni officer said.

Since the civilian resistance groups took up arms in May—most of them students peacefully protesting against the coup until the regime attacked them—the army’s offensives have displaced more than 140,000 people in Karenni State and Pekon Township.

The Karenni Human Rights Group has called for international action against the junta for war crimes and crimes against humanity. These charges include torture, the shelling of villages and churches, and forcing civilians to serve as human shields.