Karenni armed groups display weapons seized in four days of fighting

An array of weapons and ammunition, all seized by ethnic Karenni forces during four days of fighting with junta troops that began late last week, was put on display on Tuesday.

Among the captured items were an MA4 rifle, four MA1 rifles, three MA2 rifles, an RPG rocket, six ENERGA rifle grenades, two 60mm artillery shells, and a number of landmines, hand grenades, gun cartridges, bullets, and other military supplies.

All of the items were seized during clashes that took place in Karenni (Kayah) State’s Hpruso Township between June 10 and 13, according to the alliance of Karenni forces that took part in the fighting.

The alliance included the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF), the Karenni Army, and People’s Defence Force groups from Demoso and Loikaw townships.

The groups targeted a column of around 100 soldiers from Light Infantry Division (LID) 66 travelling on the highway between the Karenni State capital Loikaw and Bawlakhe, a town located some 167km to the south.

The most serious clashes took place between the villages of Daw Nyay Khu and Htee Paw So in Hpruso Township on Sunday and Monday, the KNDF said in a statement.

Seized uniforms bearing LID 66 badges (KNDF) 

During one battle that broke out at around 1pm on Sunday, 10 junta soldiers were killed and eight guns and other weapons, including grenades and landmines, were seized.

Another clash the following morning resulted in the capture of four more guns, a member of the KNDF told Myanmar Now.

He added that the Karenni alliance mainly targeted scouting parties sent ahead of the main column.

“They are trying to gain control over a wider area, but to do that, they need to send out scouts. Otherwise, they will be ambushed by the resistance forces,” said the KNDF member.

According to the KNDF statement, there were also a number of civilian casualties resulting from indiscriminate shelling by the regime troops.

It said that a 51-year-old man was killed and three women and a child were injured in Ngan Yoe, a village in Demoso Township, due to artillery fire.

On Thursday, before the fighting started, a 45-year-old woman in Daw Paw Ka Lel, a village in Loikaw Township, was also killed by an artillery shell, according to the KNDF.

Karenni resistance forces have stepped up their attacks on junta columns since April in an effort to prevent the regime from sending more reinforcements into the area.

On May 31, they launched three days of attacks on a convoy of 28 military vehicles, capturing two trucks, weapons, and LID 66 uniforms.

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