Military kills two civilians, torches dozens of houses in Demoso, Kayah State

Two civilians were killed and 30 houses burned down by Myanmar army troops during two days of battles with local resistance forces in Kayah (Karenni) State’s Demoso Township over the weekend. 

A spokesperson for the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) said that the burned remains of one person was found on Saturday with the individual’s hands tied behind their back in a car parked near Kone Thar village, where the fighting occurred.

He added that the car was travelling from Demoso town, and that the KNDF had warned those in it to turn around due to the ongoing fighting. Junta troops likely started shooting at the vehicle as it neared the village, he speculated.

“We actually tried to stop the car and told them to turn back because there was a battle going on, but they didn’t stop. They eventually got burned alive by the military. We still cannot confirm how many people were in that car,” the KNDF spokesperson told Myanmar Now. 

The military council’s troops have been struggling to confront the many local defence forces active around Demoso, which is 10 miles from the Kayah State capital of Loikaw. 

The Progressive Karenni People’s Force (PKPF), a youth-led community organisation, released a statement on Monday saying that a 70-year-old man from Kone Thar known as U Gyi Kyaw was killed by artillery shells fired by the military in Kone Thar on Sunday.

A funeral car was also damaged when it triggered a landmine at the entrance to a local cemetery as four passengers were bringing U Gyi Kyaw’s body to be buried on Monday. No one was injured in the incident, according to the PKPF. 

Recently arrived junta troops set fire to four houses in Kone Thar on Saturday and more than 20 on Sunday, according to a member of the Karenni Generation Z Army (KGZA), Hsaw Reh .

“They had been stationed in the village since September 24. They had to retreat later as they suffered great losses during the battles on September 25 and 26,” he said. “Every home along the road got robbed. They completely ransacked the houses. They didn’t even spare the money in the donation boxes at the monastery.”

The KGZA and KNDF fought alongside the Karenni Army, the Karenni People’s Defence Force, the Demoso People’s Defence Force and the Loikaw People’s Defence Force in the two-day battle.  

Demoso has been under occupation by around 200 troops from the coup regime since Friday.

In addition to two civilians, the prolonged weekend clash also reportedly resulted in the deaths of at least 10 junta soldiers as well as two members of the resistance forces: the deputy platoon battalion commander of the KNDF’s Battalion (1), 20-year-old Theodore Roh, and 25-year-old Pasqual Leh, also known as Koh Ko, from the Loikaw People’s Defence Force. Both were reportedly shot and killed. 

On May 31, another major battle between Karenni resistance groups and the junta’s armed forces took place in Kone Thar, killing some 80 military council troops, according to estimates by the resistance. 

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