Karenni fighters kill 25 junta troops in attack on army convoy

Fighting in Kayah (Karenni) State’s Hpruso Township on Saturday left 25 regime soldiers dead and four army vehicles destroyed, according to Karenni resistance forces.

In a statement, the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) said that the clash began after the group and its ally, the Karenni Army (KA), carried out an ambush at around 8am.

The statement, released by KNDF Battalion 4, said that the initial attack on a military convoy of around 20 vehicles left 15 regime soldiers dead. Another 10 were reportedly killed after junta reinforcements arrived around two hours later.

Two more soldiers were captured alive, according to the KNDF. 

A video of the clash released on Facebook shows several junta troops who appear to be dead. Another taken after the fighting has stopped features a wounded soldier and seized weapons.

In one of the videos, the Karenni fighters can also be heard saying that the soldiers appeared to belong to Light Infantry Division 66, a Myanmar army unit implicated in atrocity killings targeting civilians.

According to a woman who lives in the area, the fighting took place between the villages of Mar Kha Yaw Shay and Law Jay Khu, near a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

“I couldn’t hear anything, but some of the IDPs said they heard the sound of the battle,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Several villages in eastern Hpruso Township, including Mar Kha Yaw Shay, have been largely deserted since last December due to attacks by regime forces, she added.

Another clash that killed one KNDF fighter was reported in the same area on Friday, according to the group.

Weapons are displayed after being seized by Karenni forces following a battle with junta troops on May 7 (KNDF)

The KNDF said it also intercepted a 20-vehicle convoy in Bawlakhe Township last Wednesday. Two army trucks were reportedly destroyed.

Last September, Karenni forces operating in the area killed 30 junta troops and injured another 20 in an assault on a convoy of around 90 vehicles, a KNDF member told Myanmar Now.

Since then, however, there have been fewer large-scale clashes, he added.

“They’re travelling in smaller groups now,” he said.

Meanwhile, an officer from KNDF Battalion 4 said that the military is expected to send more supplies to Bawlakhe Township, where its tactical team is stationed, in the near future.

“They are definitely going to send a year’s worth of supplies to Bawlakhe, so a very important convoy is going to pass near here very soon,” he said.

In a separate action on Saturday, the KA reported that it had attacked a junta base on the banks of the Salween River in Shadaw Township. Six military personnel, including a deputy commander, were killed, the group said.

A total of 262 civilians and 116 members of the armed resistance have been killed in Karenni State since last year’s coup, according to a May 1 report by the Progressive Karenni People Force.

KNDF and KA troops attack a junta convoy in Kayah State’s Hpruso Township on May 7 (Kayah Li Phu Channel)



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