Four civilians killed as military continues bid to ‘annihilate’ resistance fighters in Loikaw  

Four men were killed and more than 1,000 civilians were forced to flee their homes during clashes between resistance fighters and the military in the Karenni (Kayah) State capital of Loikaw on Friday.

The fighting started at about 6am and followed a day of clashes on Thursday in which several junta soldiers were killed.

One of the four killed was struck by a junta artillery shell at his home in Maing Lone ward. The other three were shot dead by junta soldiers while walking near a stretch of railway track, a spokesperson for the Karenni Democratic Front (KDF) said. 

One KDF member and one member of the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) member also died during the clashes, the spokesperson said. 

“It is possible the military also suffered casualties,” he told Myanmar Now. “We cannot tell for sure because the clashes happened within the city.” 

Seven civilians were injured in the fighting, while others remained trapped in their homes awaiting rescue, he said on Friday afternoon. 

“Members of humanitarian organisations for IDPs and civil society groups are carrying out rescue operations to save the trapped civilians,” said an officer from the KNDF’s Battalion 2. “KNDF soldiers are also helping them.”  

Two Myanmar military battalions have marched from Shan State to Karenni to fight the resistance groups, while military attack helicopters have been seen flying above Loikaw, Demoso and Shadaw townships, local defence forces said. 

“We can see they are preparing to annihilate us in every possible way. Many preparations are needed on our side,” the KNDF officer said. 

Also on Friday the Karenni Army said it took over the Nat Taung military base in Shadaw township, near the Thai-Myanmar border, and captured four soldiers. 

Half an hour later the military sent attack helicopters to bomb the base, but the resistance fighters said they did not suffer any casualties. 

Almost a year after the military coup sunk Myanmar into chaos, the junta is fighting on multiple fronts across the country where locals have taken up arms and joined forces with established rebel groups in a bid to remove the generals from power. 

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