By Kantarawaddy Times
Fighting and State Administration Council (SAC) air bombardments have displaced many people in Loikaw since Karenni armed groups have been trying to seize control of the capital town. They have already seized several bases in southern Karenni and Shan states since launching 1111 Operation on November 11.
“We are lucky because we can flee to Demoso area. It was really difficult to leave the town because Burma army soldiers were shooting at civilians,” a Loikaw mother with a one-month-old infant told Kantarawaddy Times. She said it was the second time for her and her family to flee violence in the capital and worries about what will happen to herself and her children.
“I pray all the time,” the woman said, mentioning she has already move to three locations.
Khun Bedu, chair of Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, one of the groups leading the 1111 Operation, explained an urban guerrilla warfare operation has been initiated to capture all of the towns in Karenni State and requested civilians to seek safety from these areas. He said they want to eliminate SAC’s administration in Loikaw to rid the state of the dictatorship but cautioned that the capital will suffer damages during the fighting.
SAC troops have closed all the entrance and exit roads into Loikaw, preventing volunteer teams from rescuing civilians in the town.
Khu Palu Reh, general secretary of the Karenni State Interim Executive Council (IEC), estimates that 35,000 people are affected by the violence in Loikaw and Pekon townships, some of whom were already displaced by previous bouts of fighting and have moved to new locations to escape these recent clashes.
The areas impacted by the operation include Daw Au Khu, Mong Pya, Berdoh, Htay Ngar Lya, Ner Net Taw, and Htay Thama wards in Loikaw town. Outside the town, Chikel, Daw Paw Kaleh, Nwala Wo, and Noe Koe village-tracts have been hit. There are also people fleeing the offensives in villages in Pekon Township as well as the town of Mobye.
IEC has called for humanitarian aid for the civilians. “IDPs need basic food rations, including rice, cooking oil, and salt, as well as tarpaulin and medicines,” said Khu Palu Reh, and the volunteer teams need fuel to rescue civilians from the conflict zones.
As SAC cannot launch effective ground strikes against resistance forces, they are attacking with planes and artillery and mortar shelling. Already over 10 civilians have been killed during these attacks and many homes destroyed.
IEC is accepting donations to purchase emergency aid for the IDPs. People who are interested in helping can contact the council using Signal, Viber, Telegram +66 63 687 0154 or by email: Karenni-IEC2023@protonmail.com.