Burma

Civilian Deaths Continue in Kayah State Amid Heavy Fighting 

By The Irrawaddy 18 April 2022

An estimated 205 civilians have been killed by Myanmar’s regime in the anti-junta stronghold of Kayah State after five more people were shot dead this month.

After almost a year of armed resistance against regime forces in Kayah State, heavy fighting continues in Loikaw, Demoso, Hpruso and Bawlakhe townships.

On April 5, a man was shot dead while riding a motorbike with another person in Hpruso Township. Another dead body was found on April 11, according to the Karenni Human Rights Group, which records junta atrocities in the state.

Banyar, the group’s director, said: “Two people died immediately and four family members were injured after artillery hit their house in Pa Hike Nyin village, Loikaw Township, on April 6.”

Another two civilians were shot dead on a Hpruso Township road while walking to a village.

Since January there have been about 53 civilians killed. The most common form of death came through being detained, tortured and killed by troops and artillery strikes were the second most common. 

“Our organization only collects civilian deaths and injuries because of junta attacks. We don’t include deaths in displacement camps because of illness,” said Banyar, who only uses one name.

Kayah State is a fiercely contested resistance stronghold because of its proximity to the capital, Naypyitaw. Repeated fighting and heavy artillery strikes are reported across the state and over 200,000 people have fled their homes.

Fighting in the state capital, Loikaw, ceased in early February but broke out again in the city’s Chi Kel and Hta Ta Ma wards on April 14.

Intense fighting has been reported in Htar Lae and Nan Phe villages in Hpruso Township and about four regime forces, including battalion commander Win Htike Soe from the 66th Light Infantry Division, apparently died in a Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) mine attack.

According to the KNDF, about 58 regime and 10 resistance troops had been killed so far this month. 

The Irrawaddy could not independently verify the numbers.

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