Ethnic Army and Civilian Forces Battle Myanmar Regime in Kayah State

By The Irrawaddy 21 May 2021

Fierce clashes have been taking place in Kayah State’s Demoso Township since Friday morning between junta forces and the People’s Defence Force (PDF) formed by civilian resistance fighters.

“Junta forces arrested four civilians and four striking government employees at a funeral on Thursday. They made more arrests today. We PDF members asked the junta troops to stop but the talks failed and they opened fire on us, so we returned fire,” said a resistance fighter.

The military regime also detained five male villagers in Demoso Township on Thursday.

Clashes are taking place at Dawh Ngan Kha ward beside the Union Highway to Taungoo on Friday after junta troops attempted to enter the ward.

Light Infantry Battalion 102 based in Demoso is battling the resistance.

Residents from Dawh Ngan Kha ward flee their homes after the fighting. / Photo: CJ

A volunteer fighter said: “They are using mortars and we are carrying out guerilla attacks. We have prepared for the worst. We will fight them as long as they are in power.”

Residents from Loikaw, the Kayah capital, said they saw at least 10 military trucks full of soldiers driving towards Demoso at around 11am.

They said junta forces are arresting passers-by. A motorbike rider was shot dead by junta forces after refusing to stop. At least six civilians had been detained by Friday at noon.

Residents of Dawh Ngan Kha ward flee their homes after the fighting. / Photo: CJ

By May 20, across Myanmar over 800 civilians were killed and more than 4,200 people, including elected lawmakers, protest leaders, activists and striking government employees, are being held in captivity.

Civilian defense forces, known as the PDF, are resisting the regime after receiving military training from ethnic armed organizations.

Apart from the civilian resistance fighters, the military is also fighting the Karenni Army, the armed wing of the Karenni National Progressive Party, in Kayah State.

Clashes took place in Hpasawng and Bawlakhe townships on Thursday after junta troops attempted to enter the KNPP’s territory. Earlier this month, the Karenni Army shot down a junta drone allegedly conducting aerial reconnaissance above its territory.

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