Karen State – Fighting in KNU Fifth Brigade

Fighting broke out in Karen State’s Brigade 5 area between Karen National Liberation Army forces and the Burma Army. The fighting took place on September 9.

The fighting between the KNLA Brigade 5, based in Mutraw, Papun District, and Burma Army forces, including infantry battalion #19, from U Thoo Hta camp involved light weapon exchanges.

The two forces exchanged fire for short periods, sources from the KNLA told Karen News. The KNLA said that they opened fire after Burma Army forces entered Karen National Union territory.

“The fighting broke out at 12 noon at U Thoo Hta River, at a distance of over 1,000 yards from the government troops’ camp in U Thoo Hta camp. The soldiers clashed as the government troops had entered our territory without having first informed us.” Major Saw Kler Doh, from KNLA’s Brigade 5, said in an interview with Karen News.

According to the KNLA’s brigade 5’s security demarcation zone, government troops must contact and inform the KNLA if they plan to travel within 200 yards of the zone.

There were no casualties on the Karen side, however Karen News is at this time seeking further information as to possible government casualties.

The skirmish comes in spite of a 2012 preliminary ceasefire between the Karen National Union and the Burmese government. It is unclear what, if any, the ramifications will of the latest outbreak of fighting on the ongoing peace negotiations between the KNU and the Burmese government. KNLA sources said that the incident was reported
to leaders of both sides.

Fighting has broken out in the past between KNLA’s Brigade 5 and government troops. A skirmish on June 26 left one government soldier killed and another wounded.

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