In Battle of Kawtbein 23 Police Surrender to KNLA but Dhammatha Village Set Ablaze from Shells fired by Junta naval ship in Gyaing River

On March 27, a Junta military vessel in Gyaing River shelled Dhammatha village in Kyaikmaraw Township, Mon State, igniting fires that consumed numerous village homes. As of the evening, the fire was still spreading, and locals reported that it had not yet been brought under control or extinguished.

“The village was targeted and shelled by a military vessel in the Gyaing River, despite no fighting nearby. When artillery shells struck the village, fires began to ignite. Approximately three-quarters of the village has already been burned”, a Dhammatha villager told KIC.

On March 24, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)-led resistance forces seized control of the Junta’s police station in Kawtbein village. After that event , the Junta forces advanced toward Tharanar, Dhammatha, and Kawtpauk villages, with clashes raging in the vicinity of Tharanar on March 27, as reported by residents.

“Two columns soldiers moved to retake the Kawtbein police station. One set out from Hpa-An, while the other approached from the side of the Gyaing River. These columns triggered clashes with resistance forces. The Junta vessel in the river engaged in shelling and shelling, and airstrikes were also unleashed”, a witness said.

During the battle of Kawtbein, the Junta side suffered 5 fatalities, with 23 individuals surrendered. The joint resistance forces asserted that the families of the police personnel who surrendered were appropriately detained as prisoners of war (PoWs). Two members of the Garuda Column, a resistance faction, also sacrificed their lives in the skirmish.

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