By Kantarawaddy Times
More than 100 government soldiers were killed after six columns launched offensives against a consortium of armed groups opposing the dictatorship in southern Shan State, according to Khun Be Du, the chair of the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF).
“We have captured their bodies and found some buried,” he told the Kantarawaddy Times, acknowledging that there had been losses on his side as well.
Khun Be Du said the Naypyidaw Military Command headquarters, with the help of the Eastern Command in Taunggyi, directed the movements of 600 soldiers from Light Infantry Divisions 66, 55, 99 and MOC 2 and 18 during their four-week offensive in southern Shan State.
An officer from Battalion 2 of the Pekon People’s Defence Force, which fought with junta troops in Hkawng Ei village tract in Pekon Township between 8 and 16 March, said many senior soldiers were killed, including a lance corporal, corporal, sergeant and captain.
The KNDF and the PDF captured five bodies after exchanging fire with the military near a displaced camp in Kuyin village tract in eastern Pekon Township on 12 March. Two soldiers from KNDF Battalion 3 and two soldiers from the PDF were also killed in the fighting.
“In March, fighter jets attacked at least 10 times and combat helicopters at least 15 times,” Khun Be Du said. The regime flew airstrikes on villages in Pekon such as Nam Neing. And in Demawso Township, a jet fighter attacked a junction, he said. “They attacked civilians as well as the resistance groups.”
On 12 March, junta soldiers killed a male senior and buried his body, a female senior and a Grade 7 student near a displaced camp on the border between Karenni and Shan states where fighting was taking place.
In eastern Demoso, the KNDF and the Karenni Army (KA) fought 3 columns that entered the area on 9 March. 30 government soldiers were killed and one KA soldier died in the fighting.
The regime sent about 1,500 fighters to Karenni State, in addition to the 1,000 or so already stationed there.