Fighting broke out between the government’s Border Guard Force militia and the Karen National Liberation Army close to Mae La Hta village in Papun Township, Karen State. The conflict erupted last week wounding two in the conflict – a KNLA soldier and a civilian.
KNLA sources said militia from Border Guard Force battalion 1014 based at Mae Seik village attacked a KNLA position near Mae La Hta village.
Major Saw Kler Doh, an officer from the KNLA 5th Brigade told Karen News that the fighting happened on the morning of January 22 when 20 BGF soldiers from Mae Seik village went up to Mae La Hta area and ambushed a KNLA soldier.
Speaking to Karen News, Major Kler Doh said.
“It is about two hours walk away from Mae Seik to Mae La Hta village. They [BGF] intended to attack the KNLA soldiers. The fighting lasted for 30 minutes. One of our soldiers and a civilian were injured, but we don’t know if there are any casualties on their side.”
Major Kler Doh said that following the attack, the KNLA 5th Brigade and the Karen National Union’s Papun District office wrote letters to the Burma Army Strategic Command based in Papun Town requesting that it respond to the BGF ambush, but so far the there has been no response.
KNU sources identified BGF battalion 1014 as coming under the command of Major Saw Chit Thu. The KNU source stressed that ‘armed incidents’ should not happen during the ceasefire period.
“It is unacceptable. The government has to take responsibility and handle this issue to make sure it won’t happen again.”
The KNU source said that its soldiers would not attack government
troops without just reason. Major Kler Doh warned that KNLA soldiers would have to take defensive action if its soldiers are attacked.
“We shouldn’t cross over to each others territory to fight each other. We won’t start the attack, but if we are attacked, we will defend ourselves.”
Local residents allege that BGF militia based in Mae Seik village have shelled 60 mm artillery mortars into KNLA positions.
On January 22, the day of the attack, a government minister, U Aung
Min, People’s Militia and Border Affair Director, Major General Maung Muang Ohn and the Immigration Minister U Khin Ye were meeting with representatives from the BGF and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.
The meeting was called to settle tension between the DKBA and the BGF
in the Burma border town of Myawaddy.