Fighting Escalates In Southern Shan State

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Fighting between regime troops and Karenni resistance groups in southern Shan State along the border with Karenni State has increased after the dictatorship sent in large numbers of troops and armoured vehicles and flew numerous airstrikes on fighters and civilians.

In Pekon Township, the Burma Army (BA) burned down almost all the houses in Hpa Lai during days of fierce fighting, which also affected Loi Saton, said the spokesperson for the Mobye People’s Defence Force (PDF). He said the violence has now spread to nearby Mobye, where five houses have already been destroyed by regime airstrikes and the BA has abducted at least 10 civilians and used them as human shields in the town.

According to the PDF, at least 15 BA soldiers were killed in Mobye on Saturday, while the same number of Karenni resistance fighters were killed in action. A male civilian was also killed and 10 people were wounded by the regime’s shelling. Thousands of civilians from the town and surrounding villages have fled the area, but some are still trapped there.

“It’s really difficult to collect the bodies there. The BA has committed serious human rights violations in Mobye. All we can do is to keep fighting the military junta until the dictatorship ends,” said the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) spokesperson.

On Thursday, several people were killed when BA burned down all 200 houses in Warisu Palai, after 1,000 fled the village outside Mobye, where some had sought refuge from the town.

Fighting between Karenni resistance groups and the BA in Pekon Township began after the regime launched an offensive on 16 February. The following day, Dr Suam Htet Aung (aka Aung Gyi) was killed while helping to rescue injured KNDF fighters from the frontline. According to the Student Union for the Loikaw Education Degree College, Maung Myat Min Khant, a second-year student, was also killed during fighting in Mobye.

PDF units from Demawso, Pekon, Mobye PDF, Loikaw as well as KNDF, Karenni General Z and Karenni Army are fighting regime forces in the area.

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