By Kay Du / Kantarawaddy Times
The Burma Army has launched a massive offensive against Karenni resistance groups in Chauk Mai village-tract in eastern Demawso township in Karenni state, forcing people living in three nearby IDP camps to move to a new location to avoid the violence.
The offensive in Chauk Mai has been on-going since 22 January. Sporadic clashes have broken out between the Burma Army soldiers and Karenni resistance groups. The Burma Army has been indiscriminately firing artillery in the area, some of which have hit the nearby IDP camps.
“The IDPs had already built their bamboo huts, but when the Burma Army fires artillery indiscriminately and the shells land inside and around the IDP camps, the IDPs are afraid to continue to living there. At least five IDPs were wounded by the Burma Army’s shelling on 24 January,” a female IDP (source 1) told Kantarawaddy Times.
The Burma Army’s Light Infantry Battalion 427 and Infantry Battalion 102 – both based in Demawso town – have been firing artillery shells on a daily basis. On 25 January, the IDPs from three camps relocated to a new area to find safety from the artillery fire.
“There are approximately 1,200 IDPs, including nearly 500 children, living in these three IDP camps”, Sayar Banyar (source 2), Director of the Karenni Human Rights Group (KnHRG), told Kantarawaddy Times.
IDPs said that they continue to face difficulties after they relocated. The Burma Army hasn’t stopped the offensive against Karenni resistance groups in the area, and the indiscriminate artillery fire continues.
“It was not an easy decision to move to a new location, we knew that we would face many difficulties when we fled. We do not have cars or motorcycles, so we had to wait for a rescue team and we needed to share space in the cars to carry our belonging to the new place,” a male IDP (source 3) told Kantarawaddy Times.
The three IDP camps were built in May 2021 after intense clashes broke out between the Burma Army and Karenni resistance groups in Karenni state.