Karenni resistance forces report multiple junta casualties as battles escalate

Military forces tasked with securing the passage of army convoys through Demoso Township in Kayah (Karenni) State were ambushed by Karenni forces on Tuesday, killing at least 10 troops, according to a spokesperson for one of the resistance groups. 

The Karenni Army (KA) and the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) intercepted and attacked the units near Htu Lwee Bi Lar and Ngwe Taung villages at around 4pm, with the subsequent clash lasting around two hours. 

According to a KNDF spokesperson, the Karenni forces did not suffer any casualties. 

“[The soldiers] were providing security for the military convoy heading to Demoso from Hpruso. They ended up retreating after last night’s clash,” he said of the junta security units.

As they fled, the junta troops occupied areas near Chaydawyar pagoda in Demoso, and proceeded to fire artillery shells at civilian homes from their posts, locals said. 

One day earlier, the KA and the KNDF had also fired RPGs at the military units in Demoso, reportedly killing two soldiers and injuring five, according to the KA.  

A spokesperson from the anti-junta People’s Defence Force (PDF) in Pekhon, southern Shan State—25 miles from Demoso—said that another clash took place between his group and the junta’s armed forces there on Tuesday afternoon.

Also at 4pm, the Pekhon PDF and the KNDF reportedly attacked the military unit stationed in Pekhon Township on a hill near Kathea village in Konehson village tract, with the battle lasting 30 minutes. 

It is not known if there were casualties on the military’s side, but the Pekhon PDF spokesperson said one of his group’s own members was shot in the leg and injured in the clash. 

Kathe locals flee with the help of members of the Free Burma Rangers humanitarian group on October 27 (KNDF-BO3)

The military council has deployed several units to the hill in question, located along the Pekhon-Shwe Pyi Aye road. The troops fired highly explosive 120mm mortar shells at civilian areas of Pekhon during the fighting, injuring three locals. 

Nearly the entire population of Kathea and the surrounding area fled, according to the Pekhon PDF spokesperson.

“Military units are stationed all over Pekhon Township and are shooting all over the township, prompting the majority of the locals to flee,” he explained. 

Seven members of the Pekhon PDF ambushed an outpost of the Light Infantry Battalion 336 in Pekhon on October 22, killing five junta personnel guarding the post, including three female officers. Five weapons were confiscated from the scene. 

The KA, KNDF and PDFs in the region have been collaborating in launching attacks on the military units in Kayah State and southern Shan State where there are large ethnic Karenni populations. 

Several junta troops were reportedly killed during an attack by the resistance forces on a 40-vehicle military convoy in Kayah State in late September. 

The military council has been sending reinforcements to both Chin State and the Karenni region, and at times forcing civilians to serve as their porters. Some of these porters have been killed by the army, according to the information department of the Karenni National Progressive Party. 

There have also been multiple reports of junta units in the region looting civilian homes and placing landmines in residential areas.

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