By Kantarawaddy Times
Loikaw residents have reported an increased security presence by the Burma army since July, with soldiers frequently discharging their rifles as a means of intimidation towards civilians in the Karenni State capital.
“In the past, soldiers were not stationed in the paddy fields. However, they are now deployed around the town’s paddy fields and have covertly taken up positions on the roadside to inspect everyone who passes,” revealed a female resident who requested anonymity for security reasons.
The number of soldiers has also increased at checkpoints in the town where they check people’s phones and search through their vehicles.
“We feel increasingly unsafe in this town. Whenever we go out, we leave our phones at home. We prefer to remain at home unless it’s absolutely necessary,” she explained.
Last month, soldiers shot at a man returning from his rice farm after he fled an inspection at one checkpoint. “Soldiers fired four bullets at him from behind, and he was fortunate not to have been hit,” stated a local man also requesting anonymity.
Karenni State comprises seven townships. While the Military Council maintains full control over the capital up to the present day, in the countryside, there are frequent clashes between the military and the Karenni resistance groups. As the war has intensified since early 2023, the Burma army has added security measures around Loikaw.