PNO Supporting Tatmadaw During Fighting in Karenni State, KPDF Claims

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By Kantarawaddy Times

A civilian resistance group claims that an ethnic armed organization (EAO) is helping the regime’s forces to attack them in Karenni State.

A Karenni People’s Defense Force (KPDF) member said Pa-O National Organization (PNO) assisted Burma Army when it clashed near Soung Nang Khe village, Pekon Township, on the evening of May 24.

A PNO officer, however, denied the charge, telling Kantarawaddy Times the EAO is staying in its area of control. “We aren’t going anywhere,” the officer explained.

The KPDF member said PNO troops were spotted near Hte Yi village, located close to where violence broke out on Monday. “During the clash, a PNO officer ordered his soldiers in Pa-O to attack us…We also captured a cell phone, two rifles and a pistol during the fighting.” The resistance fighter explained after calling a number on the phone a person answered in Pa-O.

KPDF claims two PNO soldiers were killed during the hour-long clash with the EAO and the Burma Army, while two members of the civilian resistance group sustained injuries.

Another KPDF member suspects PNO was on its way to Mobye to support the Burma Army, when the civilian group intercepted them. The member explained that the EAO has been sending troops to help the Burma Army on a secret road in eastern Pekon Township, and villagers said PNO soldiers were seen May 24 traveling in a vehicle to Loikaw.

Fighting between KPDF and Burma Army, which started on May 21, has displaced about 50,000 villagers, according to volunteers who are helping them.

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