Karenni State IDP camp hit by Myanmar army artillery during day of multiple battles

A camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Karenni State’s Demoso Township was hit by an artillery shell fired by the military on Thursday, members of the local anti-junta People’s Defence Force (PDF) said. 

One person was injured and several shelters and a church were destroyed when the shell detonated at around 3am. 

The camp is located in Mya Le village, 10 miles from the nearest of three clashes that broke out between the resistance and the military on the same day, a spokesperson for the Demoso PDF told Myanmar Now, explaining that two battles took place in Loikaw and one in Demoso on Thursday. 

“The IDPs sought refuge in that area as they thought it would be safe. They are now moving to other supposedly safer places as we speak,” he said.

The clash site that was the closest to the camp took place at the Demoso Central Police Station at 9am in Aung Chanthar ward. 

During the fighting across three locations, two junta soldiers were reportedly killed and several injured, and three PDF members sustained “minor injuries,” the Demoso PDF spokesperson said.

Three battalions from the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force as well as the Karenni Army released statements describing a battle in Loikaw at around 7am, after their forces attacked junta lookout points around two villages: Three-Mile Pa Kye and Padanye. 

A local resident said that a second clash took place in the same location at around noon. 

“We could hear a lot of shells going off. [The military] fired shells for around 20 minutes and stopped. It got worse in the afternoon, though,” said the villager, who was in a community one mile from the site at the time of the fighting. 

“A fire started in the afternoon. We couldn’t see the houses up close but from our village we could see smoke coming out of their village,” they said. 

The local added that most villagers in the area fled when the fighting broke out. 

Karenni State-based news outlet Kantarawaddy Times reported that four clashes took place on Thursday and that three houses were destroyed by military shells in Padanye. 

Myanmar Now was unable to obtain further information on the extent of the recent clashes, as internet and telephone access in Karenni State has been largely cut off by the military council. 

The junta’s information department has not released a recent statement on its activities in the state.  

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