Thousands Affected By Clashes In Eastern Demawso Township

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By Kantarawaddy Times

More than 3,000 civilians fled the recent violence in eastern Demawso Township between the regime and allied armed groups the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) and the Karenni Army (KA), the military wing of the Karenni National Progressive Party.

Since last Thursday, there has been new fighting in the eastern township along the frontline of the war in Karenni State

“Few people are left in their area,” says Ko Banyar, director of the Karenni Human Rights Organisation. In a state where Karenni organisations say two-thirds of the population have been forced from their homes since the post-coup violence began, it was the first time for all those who fled last week, he said.

With the new civilians, there are about 15,000 displaced people in the eastern township.

On Thursday, the Karenni resistance fought off a column of the regime that entered from nearby Bawlake Township and clashed with another column that entered from Chauk Mai in eastern Demawso on the same day.

One man, who had made his way to safety, said the fighting was intense.

“I do not know what to do.”

The junta is shelling the township daily with artillery, locals say.

Khu Nye Reh, head of the KNPP’s interior ministry, said reconnaissance planes also fly over Bawlakhe and Hpruso townships daily, bringing troops, weapons and food rations to the No-14 military school in Hpruso town.

Commenting on last week’s fighting, he said, “In the past one or two days, a column has been observed advancing from Bawlakhe. Furthermore, this morning, troops were spotted approaching from the upper side of Demoso, near the Seven Stages Lake. It appears that the Military Council aims to encircle the eastern side of Demoso and then clear the area.”

Many of the civilians uprooted by the clashes could not take much with them when they ran away, Ko Banyar explained. If they were lucky, they brought a little rice, cooking oil and salt. He was especially worried after they had to walk in the hot sun without medicine.

“I think health is a big challenge for them right now They also need food rations, medicines and tarpaulins and plastic sheets to build shelters,” he said.

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