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Mandalay youth leader killed in Kayah State battle

A member of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) was killed in a clash with the Myanmar army in Kayah (Karenni) State’s Demoso Township this week, according to a statement released by the group on Wednesday. 

The soldier was 20-year-old Sai Bhone Min Thant, one of his close friends told Myanmar Now. 

“I heard that they were shelled. We can’t even get his body back yet, let alone bury him,” the friend said.

Before joining the KNDF, Sai Bhone Min Thant had led anti-coup protests in his native Mandalay, and before the February 1 military coup he had been a student at the Mandalay Government Technical Institute. 

Sai Bhone Min Thant at a protest in Mandalay (Supplied)

“He always protected us during the protests. He was a good leader. It’s such a great loss,” his friend said, adding that Sai Bhone Min Thant had travelled to Kayah State in early September to join the armed resistance against the junta.

During a Wednesday protest in Mandalay against the military council, demonstrators held photos of the late Sai Bhone Min Thant to honour his contribution to the movement. 

The battle in which he died broke out on Monday in Daw Poe Si village, when a joint force made up of the KNDF, the Karenni Army and the Demoso People’s Defence Force attacked around 300 junta troops, but were later forced to withdraw by the military’s heavy artillery fire. 

The military council has not released any information regarding casualties on their side during the clash. 

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