Junta Can’t Control Karenni State

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The regime cannot control Karenni State, although it’s sent many of its forces to the region, according to resistance groups fighting to topple the military dictatorship for over a year.

Daniel, the deputy head of the defence department of the Karenni National Progressive Party, whose armed wing, the Karenni Army, is fighting the Burma Army (BA), said the junta has stopped launching large-scale military offensives against them to focus on securing their camps, main roads and towns.

”Actually, soldiers never go out of their military camp (anymore). When they leave, they’re attacked by (armed) youth.”

Karenni resistance groups frequently carry out hit and run attacks on junta camps in Burma’s smallest state.

An anonymous Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) officer said: “If we attack them, they retreat. When they attack us, we retreat… Neither side can fully control the area,” although the BA has launched numerous offensives against groups in Pekon, Mobye, Nam Maekhong, Dor Ngan Hkar, Demawso and Hprus for the past year.

“They cannot do anything without the people’s participation,” said another anonymous KNDF officer. ”Even though BA has many troops stationed along important roads, they cannot rule over the local people because nobody accepts them here.”

He said that villagers flee before the regime sends troops into their area.

In early January, there were clashes between resistance groups and BA in some of the wards in Loikaw, the capital of Karenni State. Many regime troops have been stationed at checkpoints at the entrances to the state’s major towns.

According to Daniel, the BA needs to capture Demawso town if they want to control the capital and Pekon township located in southern Shan State. Therefore, they’ve launched an offensive in Demawso township.

“They’re also trying to control the connecting roads to other states. They’ve deployed a lot of soldiers in the Loilin Lay area because an important road passes through the area… to control the roads connecting Mobye, Pekon and Taunggyi in Shan State, as well as Mandalay and Naypyitaw.”

”We’re trying to retake Nam Maekhong after we withdrew from the area because we didn’t have enough weapons,” said an anonymous Demawso People’s Defence Force officer about fierce fighting that broke out between BA and the Karenni resistance in Demawso Township in May.

The junta also carries out surprise airstrikes on the groups and civilians and lays mines around houses and religious buildings in the township, injuring returning civilians who fled the conflict.

The civilian conflict monitoring group Progressive Karenni People’s Force reported 318 clashes between the junta and resistance groups in Karenni State since the military coup, killing 1,227 BA soldiers and 128 resistance fighters.

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