Residents Expressed Organized Gangs Rampantly Loot Vacant Homes in Loikaw City with No Reporting Outlets Available

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By Kantarawaddy Times.

Civilians who were forced to flee their homes as fighting escalated in Loikaw, the capital of Karenni State, have discovered that organized gangs are looting and stealing belongings from vacant homes.

“Organized gangs have broken into almost every vacant house. Only guarded houses remain,” accounted a Loikaw resident who recently returned home to retrieve his belongings.

Since the commencement of Operation 1111 in Loikaw, intense clashes between the military junta and the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) have persisted, displacing the town’s inhabitants to safer areas.

Both individual and organized gangs are looting and stealing civilian property from vacant homes. Residents have reported knowing the identities of the thieves but are too afraid to report them due to concerns for their safety.

“We witness our neighbors’ homes being burglarized, but we dare not say anything. They are armed with knives and sticks. To signal our presence and prevent our homes from being broken into, we must sit outside,” stated a Loikaw resident.

Sources indicate that combat has erupted throughout Karenni State, including in the city of Loikaw. Due to the ongoing fighting, the effective rule of law has weakened, making it difficult to prosecute thieves, thus increasing theft and destruction of civilian property.

“We know the thieves and we know the people who are buying the stolen goods. But we don’t know who to report them to, which makes them even braver,” remarked a resident of Loikaw city.

It has been reported that since Operation 1111 began, around 80 percent of Loikaw’s population has been displaced. Many homes and buildings in the city have been damaged or destroyed by airstrikes, artillery shelling, drones, and arson attacks by the military.

Residents returning home to retrieve their properties have been advised to access the security situation and coordinate with a committee formed by the Karenni State Interim Executive Council (IEC). It has been discovered that some civilians in Loikaw city are residing in the sections of Lawtama, Nampawang, Dawtama, and other nearby areas.

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