Loikaw Soldiers Arrest Civilians Who Fled Conflict In Eastern Demoso

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Soldiers have beaten and arrested innocent civilians fleeing escalating fighting in eastern Demoso Township, Karenni State.

“It was very distressing to watch what happened to them,” explained a witness living in the capital who requested anonymity because he feared reprisals for speaking out. “When people come to Loikaw, they should be careful about their security,” he warned.

Following a spike in violence after regime offensives in eastern Demoso, which is controlled by the Karenni Army and Karenni State Defence Force, the government has tightened security at checkpoints leading into the town.

A man with Job For Kayah said soldiers have been checking everyone’s phones at the checkpoints since 12 March. They have arrested up to 18 people after allegedly discovering some photos on their handsets.

These days, soldiers and police are checking people all over Loikaw, another man told Kantarawaddy Times, also asking that his name remain unpublished.

Approximately 20,000 people have fled the clashes that started in eastern Demoso Township on 9 March. They need many things, including food, medicine and shelter materials, volunteers say.

Further south, in Bawlakhe Township, soldiers from Light Infantry Division 77 and Light Infantry Battalion 429 from the town with the same namesake, have reportedly torched homes, rice banks and villager’s motorcycles in Dor Nye Khu.

“I think they are staying in a Buddhist monastery,” a resident requesting anonymity has said.

The villagers, who quickly fled before the soldiers raided the village, brought nothing with them and are in desperate need of food rations.

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