Junta’s forces attack civilians in Kayah State in retaliation for local resistance

At least nine civilians were killed by the junta’s armed forces in the Kayah (Karenni) State capital of Loikaw between Sunday night and Tuesday morning. 

Regime troops suffered heavy casualties during fighting with the local Karenni People’s Defence Force (KPDF) on Sunday in Moebye in southern Shan State and Demoso in Kayah State. In retaliation, the Myanmar military used both light weaponry and heavy artillery to attack civilians that night and over the following two days in Demoso and Loikaw townships. 

Nine civilians were killed and at least eight others seriously injured in the assaults.

In the early morning hours on Tuesday, regime forces began launching offensives against civilian resistance groups in Demoso, according to a KPDF member. Starting at 4am, clashes occurred in three villages: Daw Ngan Khar, Daw Tama Nge and Ngwe Taung.

Three villagers from Daw Ngan Khar were killed in the attack, the KPDF member told Myanmar Now.

Clashes in Daw Tama Nge halted at around 9am. Five KPDF members were injured in the village; one critically. 

Meanwhile, regime forces in Loikaw opened fire indiscriminately at around 10am, with the shooting ongoing at the time of reporting on Tuesday afternoon.

On Monday afternoon, a young man was shot in the head by regime troops with his hands tied behind his back. The execution took place in an unconfirmed location between Noekoe and Yayyo villages in Loikaw Township, according to updates shared on social media by a Karenni youth online community. 

Four villagers were also killed and eight others were seriously injured when the junta’s forces fired artillery shells at Kayan Thaya Village Church in Loikaw Township at around 1 am on Monday. 

On Sunday night, local man Hla Htike was fatally shot in the abdomen by the army while driving a motorcycle on the Moebye-Loikaw Road, according to locals. 

The junta’s armed forces raided Yayyo village and Narnattaw quarter, both on the outskirts of Loikaw, on Monday morning, and there were also shootings in Shanpine and Mong Lone quarters, according to locals.

“They stormed into Yayyo village first, and then Narnattaw. We had to resist the army. At around 3:30pm, they withdrew. Some of them were in plainclothes, but they were armed with guns,” a member of KPDF told Myanmar Now. 

He said that there were no casualties on either side of the mutual shootout in Narnattaw, and that the military council had deployed a small number of troops to the west of Narnattaw, while the rest of the troops had moved to downtown Loikaw. 

On Monday evening, residents described Loikaw as silent except for the sound of artillery shells, which were fired until around 6:30pm.

Using loudspeakers early on Monday morning, the military urged residents of Loikaw not to leave their homes after 9am.

Residents told Myanmar Now that they heard at least six flights land at Loikaw Airport, the last which arrived at 3pm.  

“The planes landed at Loikaw Airport. I saw soldiers coming down. We don’t know how many soldiers were on each plane. Security was tightened at the airport. They were also seen unloading things,” a local said. 

The junta’s forces attacked Moebye and Demoso townships with heavy artillery on Sunday, firing some 30 shells in the area from 5pm until 10pm, a resident told Myanmar Now. 

While residents remain in downtown Loikaw, tens of thousands of people outside of the town itself have fled their villages throughout Demoso, Loikaw and Pekhon townships, according to Karenni youth who are assisting the displaced persons. 


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