Villagers Fear DKBA and Government’s Militia Fighting Near Kawkareik Will Result in Displacement

Soldiers from the breakaway Democratic Karen Buddhist Army clashed with the government militia, the Border Guard Force, in Htee Poe Zan village tract near Kawkareik at noon on October 19.

The fighting between the DKBA soldiers and the BGF battalion 1017 lasted around 40 minutes, according to local villagers.

Major Saw Deedee, Battalion Commander of BGF 1017 confirmed the fighting to Karen News.

“The fighting took place, but we are still making inquiries about it,” Major Saw Deedee said.

Despite villagers and government department officials claiming that there were casualties on both sides, Karen News is unable to verify the claims that one BGF soldier was wounded and four DKBA soldiers killed and one wounded. Fighting that began in early September between the DKBA and BGF in Mae Tha Waw areas of Hliangbwe Township was intense for a month and drove thousands of villagers from their homes – many are still displaced.

Villagers from Kawkareik Township and Yan Kote village told Karen News that they fear that the same will now happen to them.

“We are worried that the fighting will drag on like it did in the Mae Tha Waw areas. If the situation gets intense, the Burma army will come in, BGF will send in reinforcement and there will be more fighting. If we are in that situation, we will have no chance to work on our farms.”

Before Mae Tha Waw fighting, the fighting between DKBA and BGF first started on Asia Highway in Kawkreik Township where it caused displacement of several villages in the area. These displaced villagers have not settled back into their villages – village schools in the area are still closed.

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