At least four clashes broke out between Karenni anti-junta resistance groups and the Myanmar army in Kayah State’s Demoso and Loikaw townships on Tuesday, reportedly causing multiple military casualties.
Two of the battles took place in and near Dawpoesi village in Demoso, as well as near the township’s police station, and one in Loikaw’s Pankan village, with the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) collaborating with the Karenni Army in fighting the military.
According to a KNDF statement, the clashes resulted in the death of five junta soldiers, with seven more injured, as well as one KNDF member.
A spokesperson from the resistance group told Myanmar Now that two junta troops were killed and five wounded during a clash in Dawpoesi on Tuesday morning. Another clash broke out at 3pm between Karenni forces and soldiers occupying Phan Khar Kone monastery near the village, injuring two more Myanmar army troops.
A third battle took place near the Demoso Township police station two hours later, the spokesperson explained. Two junta soldiers were reportedly killed after being hit by RPGs fired by the resistance, and one KNDF member suffered a minor injury.
The Karenni coalition also attacked a military unit stationed near a monastery in Pankan village in Loikaw Township on the same day, resulting in the death of one junta soldier.
The majority of Demoso residents had already fled the township due to the heavy military occupation and intensifying clashes with resistance forces.
“Because the locals have not come back, there haven’t been any civilian casualties yet,” the KNDF spokesperson said.
The military council has not released a statement concerning the fighting in Demoso and Loikaw.
According to the KNDF, the military has occupied strategic hills in Demoso Township and sent heavy weaponry to the troops stationed in those locations.
Protesters in Demoso initially took up muskets to fight back against the junta after the military opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in April. Multiple Karenni armed resistance forces formed in the months that followed, fighting cooperatively against the Myanmar army.
The military has been employing troops from Light Infantry Division (LID) 66 in Pekhon, southern Shan State—an area with a large ethnic Karenni population near the Kayah State border—to intensify attacks on local defence forces in the Karenni region.
Last month, Karenni coalition forces attacked a travelling LID 66 convoy in Pekhon and in Loikaw’s Konethar village.
Pekhon’s military presence also includes Light Infantry Battalions 336 and 421, the No. 7 Military Operations Command, and engineering, artillery and signal battalions regularly deployed against the resistance groups operating in Kayah State.