Continued Fighting Makes Highway Travel Deadly

Fighting between the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army and the Burma Army is continuing along the newly opened Asia Highway 1.

Nan Paw Gay had attended a preliminary Karen National Conference in Rangoon and hoping to return to the border area via Hpa-an.

“There was fighting on Sunday and officials had told us that there was still shooting today.”

Nan Paw Gar told Karen News that she was not the only one hoping to use the highway.

“I know of about 20 people who can’t get on the road. We are taking it as a day-by-day proposition – we considered using other routes, but were warned that the situation is tense in those areas as well.”

DKBA sources told Karen News that fighting between its troops and Burma Army soldiers continued through out the day – “both sides launched mortar attacks on each others positions for most of the day – about 30 rounds.There have been at least three DKBA soldiers wounded over the course of this conflict.”

Both the DKBA and the Burma Army have warned travellers not to use the either highways because of the fighting.

Fighting between government troops and soldiers from the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army on the new Myawaddy – Kawkareik Asia Highway broke out on Thursday morning, on the 2nd July.

Sources told Karen News that the conflict erupted over security for the highway and the increased number of Burma Army soldiers scheduled to be deployed in the area. Karen army sources told Karen News that the fighting was an attempted by the government to move the DKBA out of the area and take control of its territory. The head of the Karen National Defence Organisation, Major General Nerdah Bo Mya, told Karen News that fighting would continue unless the Burma Army is willing to negotiate a political solution.

“The DKBA are Karen and it’s Karen land – they have the right to stay there. The fighting will continue unless there is some sharing – the Burma Army have the right to share, but not the right to total control.”

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