Skirmishes Between Burma Army and KNLA Increase in Northern Karen State

Skirmishes between the government troop and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) have occurred more frequently in recent weeks in Mu Traw (Hpapun) District, Northern Karen State, according to sources from local KNLA officers.

The latest skirmishes have broken out between the Burma army and the KNLA in its Brigade 5 area in the Northern Karen State, Major Saw Kler Doh from the KNLA’s Brigade 5 said to Karen News on September 9.

“Skirmishes are still breaking out sporadically. A skirmish broke out in Ta Lah Aw Ka Lar area under Bu Tho Township at 7:24 pm [on September 8). The skirmish broke out between the KNLA’s 4th Company under the 102nd Battalion and the Tatmadaw’s 207th Light Infantry Battalion (LIB-207) under the 44th Light Infantry Division (LID-44),” said Major Saw Kler Doh.

He said that the skirmish broke out after the Tatmadaw overstepped the area controlled by the KNLA’s 4th Company under the 102nd Battalion. The KNLA officer said that there are routes that they allow government troops to use but skirmishes would occur if the government troops travel outside of the permitted areas.

Skirmishes resumed between the troops under the KNU Brigade 5 and the Tatmadaw since August 28 and tensions remain high and skirmishes are still breaking out up to now.

The KNU Brigade 5 sent a letter of objection to the commander of the Tatmadaw’s South Eastern Command on August 29 after the Tatmadaw’s 2nd Infantry Battalion (IB-2) under LID-44 exchanged fire with the KNLa Brigade 5 in the area between Ein Kone Village and Noh Hta in Hpapun Township on August 28.

In an earlier interview with Karen News, Padoh Beeler, a member of the Joint Ceasefire Committee (JMC) from Tanintharyi Region said that there are some issues in the ceasefire agreement that have not been discussed over and finalized, so these have added difficulties to resolve tensions that had arisen.

“During this interim period, issues like troop relocation or demarcation of ceasefire areas have not been discussed yet.” Padoh Beeler said, “Since the two things have not been set, there are often tensions between government troops and our KNLA soldiers when government troops increase their movement or activities.”

A skirmish also broke out between the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA splinter group) and the KNLA Brigade 5 in Ka Ma Maung Township on August 29 and a soldier from the KNLA was injured after he stepped on a landmine he had set up.

As many as five skirmishes have broken out between the government, the DKBA, and the KNLA Brigade 5 since August and tensions may rise in the KNU Brigade 2 area, according to sources from KNLA Brigade 5.

Over 200 local residents have fled to Myaing Gyi Ngu area due to the resume in fighting.

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