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Northern Karen State: Burma Army Increase its Troops and Begins Shelling Villages

The Burma Army has reinforced it troop numbers in Northern Karen State and has linked up with its Border Guard Force to launch offensives in the Karen National Union's Mutraw (Papun) District.

A KNU source confirmed to Karen News the Burma Army has begun to fire heavy artillery into civilian areas.

The KNU source said Burma Army troops sent to Hpapun-Kamamong area are from the Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 404 and LIB (406) that come under the Military Operations Command #8.

The 5th Brigade, Karen National Liberation Army spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Saw Kler Doh told Karen News the Burma Army reinforcements have now linked up with Border Guard Force Battalion No. 1014 to launch attacks in the area.

“The newly deployed LIB-404 and 406 operate differently from the previous battalion located here – they use more heavy artillery. It is also a concern they are detaining civilians and forcing them to work as porters. They have already begun shelling indiscriminately at civilian areas – we expect there will be more clashes.”

On 2 October, the Burma Army and BGF forces fired five artillery shells and automatic weapons at villagers’ working their farms in the Paw Htee Khu village area and at Ler Day village. On October 4, Burma Army soldiers fired artillery shells at Wai Moo village, causing damages to a monastery and 12 houses.

Lt. Col. Saw Kler Doh said on October 7, soldiers from the BGF’s No. 1014 Battalion, fired at a boat transporting a pregnant woman on her way to deliver her baby at a health clinic at Mae Pri village – the boat was not allowed to pass through.

Lt. Col. Saw Kler Doh said the Burma Army continued shelling villages – October 8, heavy artillery shells fell near Du Preh Kyo village and on the night of October 10, the Burma Army fired heavy shells into villages near Hpapun Town terrifying civilians.

A statement issued by the KNU Information Department said in its Brigade 5, Mutraw District, during in September there were 213 armed clashes.

General Zaw Min Tun, a spokesperson for the Burma Army, confirmed extra security forces had been deployed to counter-act the KNLA’s 5th Brigade running military training programs for People’s Defense Force (PDF) and giving protection to members of the National Unity Government (NUG).

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