Tensions Escalate in Loikaw as Military Council Reinforces Troops

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Resistance groups have been clashing with a Burma army column at the junction road connecting Loikaw – Loilin- Mobye as the Military Council deploys fresh troops to bolster its efforts to retake the Karenni State capital.

The reinforcements were dispatched from Hsihseng in southern Shan State and is now entering the outskirts of Loikaw.

“Fighting’s happening at the entrance of Loikaw and around the industrial zone,” a frontline resistance fighter told Kantarawaddy Times, adding that clashes inside Loikaw are currently quiet.

Col Phone Naing, adjutant general of Karenni Army, one of the groups battling the regime in Loikaw, said, “Shooting frequently happens in Loikaw, near Mobye, between Mobye and Loikaw and the industrial zone.”

A media outlet that is a mouthpiece for the Military Council said in mid-June the regime was launching an operation to retake Loikaw after controlling the road to Hsihseng since May 29.

The junta is attempting to reinstall its administration in Min Su, Daw Noe Ku, Kyi Thayar, Nam Baw Wan and Shan Pai wards, and reopen the Thiri Mingalar Market, Tawng Kwe and Myo Nam pagodas, and the Loikaw Public Hospital. The regime mouthpiece claimed it has dispatched teams to inspect these areas.

A man living in Loikaw said fighting has broken out as the Military Council tries to ready these wards. “I heard that their military column is patrolling the Daw Ou Khu area leading to clashes breaking out as they attempt to clear the area.”

The regime has ordered government staff to return to the town while simultaneously trying to convince civilians displaced by earlier fighting that it is now safe to return to their homes. However, not many people have decided to return.

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