Military battalions behind attacks on Karenni-Shan border suffering major casualties, resistance sources say

The junta columns responsible for launching brutal assaults in Karenni and southern Shan states have been facing serious casualties in attacks by resistance forces, according to sources within the guerrilla movement.

According to Khu Nye Reh, the home affairs minister for the anti-regime Karenni State Administration Team and spokesperson for the communications unit of the Karenni Army’s Karenni Military Information Centre (KMIC), more than 100 Myanmar army soldiers were killed in ambushes between March 7 and March 24. The Karenni Army, Karenni Nationalities Defence Force, Pekhon Township People’s Defence Force, and the Shan State Revolutionary Youth are operating in the region in question.

“A lot of them have been killed since we ambushed them using guerrilla techniques and snipers, as well as explosive traps,” Khu Nye Reh told Myanmar Now.

The military battalions suffering the casualties are said to be behind several attacks this month in eastern Demoso Township in Karenni (Kayah State), and Shan State’s Pekhon and Pinlaung townships. At a monastery in the village of Nanneint in Pinlaung, the troops in question are accused of carrying out a massacre of 22 people on March 12, including three Buddhist monks. 

A March 20 statement by the defence ministry of the publicly mandated National Unity Government said that some 87 junta personnel, including an acting battalion commander, were killed in clashes in Pekhon and Pinlaung between March 10 and 12 alone. 

One day later, some 20 regime soldiers were reportedly killed in a battle in Daw Ta Ma Gyi village in Demoso, Khu Nye Reh said. 

“Our state is a small one but our spirits are strong,” he told Myanmar Now. “There will always be defence as long as there is offence.”

Some 6,000 residents from Daw Ta Ma Gyi and the surrounding communities have been displaced by the fighting. They are among the estimated 250,000 of the state’s 300,000 residents who have been internally displaced by military offensives, according to the Karenni Human Rights Organisation.

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