Military council forces and allied militia have been fighting for four days against Kayin National Union (KNU) forces in Kayin State’s Myawaddy township, leading to heavy casualties on both sides, according to the KNU and Karen National Defense Organization (KNDO).
The exact number of casualties is still unknown as the fighting continues, said Bo Salone, an officer from the KNDO which is an ally of the KNU. He told RFA that KNU, KNDO and People’s Defense Force (PDF) fighters have been targeting the military council stronghold at the Ukrithta camp. Junta forces are fighting alongside the Border Guard Force (BGF) and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), carrying out major attacks and air raids against their opponents.
“They have been bombing [us] with military aircraft for three days. Nine times yesterday and 10 more times today,” he said. “We have casualties on our side and there have been many casualties on the regime’s side too. The number of casualties is still unknown because the fighting has not finished yet.”.
RFA’s calls to the military council spokesman, inquiring about the ongoing fighting and the number of junta casualties, went unanswered on Wednesday.
A PDF member, speaking on condition of anonymity for safety reasons, told RFA the military council has reinforced troops near its camp due to heavy casualties.
“We are still fighting and the military aircraft are still overhead. The battle is still going on. The military council troops fled their camp yesterday and came back with reinforcements,” he said, adding that military council soldiers from the 77th Brigade were involved in the fighting.
The PDF group affiliated with the KNU/KNDO, said on its social media site on Tuesday that eight members were killed during the four-day battle, which they are calling ‘Venom’.
Ei Kyar Kway, a comedian turned revolutionary who joined the armed insurgency after the February 2021 military coup, and Civil Disobedience Movement participant, Deputy Sergeant Wai Lin Aung (nicknamed Zaw Win Htut), were among the dead, according to the statement.
The Ukarithta stronghold is located south of Myawaddy city which is controlled by the KNU’s Brigade-6.
In December 2021, about 200 fully armed junta troops arrived at the new town of Lay Kay Kaw near Myawaddy and arrested several CDM staff and PDF members sheltering in a KNU-controlled area. Several days of fighting ensued between junta forces and the KNU, leading more than 70,000 residents to flee the area..