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The Military Council’s offensives forced more than 5000 residents to flee

On November 1 the Military Council’s launched a major artillery offensive against a civilian population of people from villages in south and north of Kawkareik township in Karen State.

Many houses were set ablaze, many of their cattle have been killed, and over 5000 people have been displaced and forced to flee. Some people were injured by shrapnel from the shelling.

A volunteer helping the war refugees described the scene. “Yesterday they were firing artillery all day.

About 100 artillery rounds fell and exploded. Houses in Yan Koat Village were hit by artillery and torn apart. I heard one person was injured after being hit by shrapnel. Three cows died in Saw He Village.

Two houses were burned in Kyaung Shar Kone Village. Now there is a Military Council column with about 100 people arriving in Yan Koat Village. More than a thousand residents from Pyar Pin, Sin Kone, Kaung Hmu villages have already fled to Htiphosan and Naung Kaing villages”.

The Military Council and Border Guard Forces (BGF) joined forces in carrying out offensive operations and constantly firing artillery rounds in Kawkareik, Asia Road and Taung Kyar Inn areas apparently in retaliation for a KNLA 6 th brigade attack on Military Council offices in Kawkareik on October 21.

One of the displaced people from Kawkareik who is currently taking shelter in Nabu village painteda sad picture of the current situation of the nearly- deserted township he had just left:

“All those who lived in the vicinity of the main road in the city have joined this exodus of the displaced persons who are now seeking shelter in safer Karen towns of Mawlamyine, Hpa-An and Myawaddy.

Offices and schools have been closed in the city for a while. Only the poorest people and labourers are left in Kawkareik as well as the security forces composed of both troops and their militia ally the BGFwho patrol the mostly empty streets.”

But the struggle for control of Kawkareik district is far from over. The Karen National Union (KNU) 6th Brigade, are fighting back in Myawaddy-Waw Lay Road, Kawkareik, Kyainseikgyi, Kyaikdon and Taung Kyar Inn areas.

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