Imposition of martial law a threat to civilians, say Karenni resistance groups

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By Kantarawaddy Times

After proclaiming the extension of military rule for another six months, the State Administration Council (SAC) imposed martial law in four townships of Karenni State on 2 February. The impacted townships are Demawso Township, Hpruso Township, Shardaw Township and Bawlakhe Township.

An officer of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (source 1) said that the imposition of martial law is a signal that the SAC is unable to control these townships. Such tactics are ineffective against resistance groups but they are trying to create fear within the civilian population, he (source 1) said.

“It shows that they cannot control these territories. They cannot run their administration in these territories. There are no government staff left in Hpruso and Demawso towns. Only a few people remain living in Hpruso and Demawso towns. People are still living in rural villages in the area. This is why the regime government cannot properly operate in these towns. This is probably why they imposed martial law in these townships,” the KNDF officer (source 1) told Kantarawaddy Times.

An officer of the Demawso People’s Defense Force (source 2) said that the SAC is unable to operate its administration and judicial bodies in these four townships of Karenni state.

“Our people are out of their control in these territories. Therefore, the martial law order does not affect our people,” the officer (source 2) told Kantarawaddy Times.

Khu Nye Reh (source 3), the head of the Karenni National Progressive Party’s Interior Department, said that intense clashes have continued in the four townships where martial law has been imposed. Local people have been unable to return to their homes for nearly two years.

“They have imposed martial law in these four townships in Karenni state. It means they plan to launch military offensives against Karenni resistance groups as well as intentionally attack IDPs. The martial law order gives the regime soldiers an ‘official killing license’ in these townships,” Khu Nye Reh (source 3) told Kantarawaddy Times.

The Burma Army forcibly took power from the elected civilian government in a coup using the pretext that there was election fraud in the 2020 general election. On 1 February 2023, the SAC regime extended military rule for another six-month period, the third time since the military coup. On 2 February 2023, the SAC regime imposed martial law in 37 townships in Karenni State, Chin State, Mon State, Sagaing Region, Magwe Region, Bago Region and Tanintharyi Region.

Progressive Karenni People’s Force (PKPF), a civilian group, reported that 562 clashes occurred in Karenni state within the two years since the military coup.

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