The fighting in Karen State between the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and Burma Army continue as negotiations to stop the fighting failed.
Captain Saw Three Htoo, an Intelligence Officer from the Klo Htoo Wah Brigade said that fighting between Burma Army and the DKBA continues near Kaw Moo village, Kawkareik Township, Karen State.
Speaking to Karen News on Tuesday July 7, Captain Saw Three Htoo said.
“It [fighting] broke out once this morning [Tuesday], around 11:00 am. It started again at 2:00 pm and is still ongoing [4:30 pm on Tuesday]. We are being attacked at four different sites. We were not the ones who started firing this morning. At present, the clash is close quarters combat. The fighting conditions are getting more intense. There is no sign of progress in stopping the fighting.”
Captain Saw Three Htoo said “Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 231, 290, 275, 541 and 549 under Military Operations Command 12, launched mortars of 120 mm, 80 mm, 155 mm, 81 mm and 60 mm in the direction of our military bases at Taung Tho Lon, Taung Pya, Auboteh and 97 camp.”
A civilian car driver, Ko Zaw Thu Ra, said that both the new Asian Highway and the Dawna old road – the main roads used for travelling back and forth between Kawkareik and Myawaddy – are blocked because of the intense fighting. This has resulted in restrictions on traders and travelers who travel throughout the area.
Speaking to Karen News, Ko Zaw Thu Ra said.
”Unless the roads are opened, people will continue to crowd into Myawaddy. People [migrant workers] who were headed from Bangkok [to Burma] have to spend much of their resources on food, in addition to the rising prices for guesthouses [in Myawaddy]. They came back [to Burma] because they had holidays. Their parents worry for them. I hope the road opens and travelers won’t be attacked, and I want to help them to be safe from being at risk.”
Colonel Saw Maung Lay from DKBA’s Liaison Office in Hpa-an told Karen News that the fighting took place at the Asian Highway on July 6th at 9 am, it also occurred again on the old road, near Kaw Moo village, at the foot of a nearby mountain, around 10am and continued for the entire day. On the same day, at about lunchtime, government troops arrested a local young woman.
Armed group sources said that a villager was hit by a grenade during the fighting near Kaw Moo village on July 7th.
The Burma government has yet to release any official statement concerning the ongoing fighting and it remains difficult for Karen News to contact local government troops for their comments.
The fighting first broke out at Ta Dan Gu checkpoint, on the Kawkareik to Myawaddy Highway, and quickly escalated. The fighting started when government troops were coming up along the highway in order to take security ahead of a planned trip to Myawaddy region by the Southeastern Division Command Commander General Tin Maung Win.
DKBA high-ranking and Karen National Union (KNU) leaders are trying to hold negotiations with the government officials to stop the fighting, but have failed to reached an acceptable outcome.