By Kantarawaddy Times
Burma’s underground government asked for resistance fighters from the People’s Defence Force (PDF) to maintain discipline and abide by an internationally established military code of conduct during the conflict with the Burma Army.
Bahan Thang, deputy minister for human rights affairs for National Unity Government (NUG), told Kantarawaddy Times that “PDF is protecting the people from the military junta. We will not commit illegal acts like the Burma Army has been doing.” He called on PDF members to “remain strong while they oppose the military junta…until the military dictator has fallen.”
The fighting started between the military and PDF—also called Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF)—in Dor Ngan Hka village, Demawso Township, on May 21. Ten days later, the Tatmadaw—as the Burma Army is known locally—indiscriminately fired artillery at Demawso town. The attacks on civilians have continued until now.
Humanitarian Focal, a department of Karenni State Consultative Council (KSCC), said Tatmadaw committed crimes against humanity in Karenni State. According to a member, if the international community does not help it will be complicit for failing to take action.
Armed resistance happened after all other avenues to oppose the regime were exhausted, Bahan Thang said. “They (military council) created this situation and we are encouraging our people to keep fighting against the military junta.” Since the February 1 coup, the junta murdered hundreds of protesters and arrested thousands more.
Meanwhile, Tatmadaw is dispatching more troops to civilian wards and villages along the Loikaw to Demawso road. Many homes have been damaged or destroyed during the shelling in Demawso Township.
The Army indiscriminately shelled Loikaw town on June 9 while firing their rifles into the Karenni State capital. A shell struck a home in Nam Baw Wam ward, killing a twenty-year-old male. Another youth in the same house was injured. During the evening attack, fighting damaged and destroyed several homes.
A Loikaw resident reported hearing clashes between Tatmadaw and an armed group in Nam Baw Wam, Acre-500, and Yay Ni Kan wards. He told Kantarawaddy Times that artillery shook homes in the area. “They shot many bullets but I can not say exactly how many. No one dared to leave their houses.” According to locals, Burma Amy IB-54 troops, based on the Loikaw to Lawpita road, are responsible for the artillery attack.
A resistance fighter said: “We are fighting against a brutal army. During the conflict, we want the people to be united and for everyone to help each other. People need to support us as much as they can, and we will try our best to defeat the military council soon.”
Fighting has displaced about 100,000 people in Karenni State and in Moe Bye town, located in southern Shan State. Villagers living in rudimentary camps in the jungle need food, drinking water, shelters and medicine. Many have already fallen sick from drinking dirty water, malnutrition and inadequate shelter to protect them from the rain.