Karenni armed groups don’t want civilians returning to Loikaw while they are still actively fighting the State Administration Council (SAC) in the Karenni State capital.
“We haven’t finished our military operation to capture Loikaw town,” explained an officer working with Karenni Nationalities Defense Force’s (KNDF) information department. He said they have faced many challenges fully capturing the capital since Operation 1111 began on November 11.
“We are asking to understand the complexities of the situation. We need to elevate our revolution to the next stage and capture towns and villages from the Burma army.”
At this time, the Karenni resistance groups control more than half of Loikaw.
Most of the town’s population fled to southern Shan State when clashes started over two months ago. Some have attempted to return to collect food rations from their homes because they do not have enough food at the displaced camps.
But the KNDF officer explained the dangers for civilians, with SAC launching constant airstrikes and artillery attacks on Loikaw. Many people have already been killed or injured, and regime bombings have damaged many buildings. Junta soldiers are also firing on anyone in the street.
Col Phone Naing, adjutant general of Karenni Army, which is fighting with KNDF to take the capital from SAC, said, “We will continue to fight against the military junta until the end. All our revolutionary troops will fight for the freedom of our people and of our Karenni State. We are committed to defeating the enemy.”
Since the coup, there has been a lot of clashes between the regime and armed groups in Karenni State. Many civilians displaced by the violence are enduring troubles living in camps for nearly three years.
A Loikaw man who left said that many homes have been destroyed in the town. He said that only a few people remain in the town, but they are not safe because Burma army soldiers shoot at them. “All of the food is also running out…At this time, it’s impossible to live in the town because it is so dangerous.” The people must continue to support the revolution by fighting the regime, he added.
“Our soldiers have sacrificed their lives and their body parts. Yet, until today, our people remain displaced. Although many people are facing troubles, it is important that we are fighting for the freedom of our state,” Col Phone Naing said.