Five Myanmar Junta Troops Killed in Kayah State as Home Minister Visits

By The Irrawaddy 25 May 2021

At least five junta soldiers were killed during heavy fighting between civilian resistance forces and regime troops in Demoso Township, Kayah State on Tuesday morning. The military’s casualties came as the junta’s Home Affairs Minister arrived in Loikaw, the capital of Kayah State, on Tuesday.

Two members of the Karenni People’s Defense Forces (KPDF) were killed during the clashes near the Ngwe Taung Dam in Demoso Township.

The KPDF said the fighting lasted for nearly six hours and stopped at around 10am. The regime forces employed armored personnel carriers and artillery.

“Five junta soldiers died. Two of our members who attempted to destroy the armored vehicles also died and three others disappeared when fighting with junta forces. But civilian resistance forces destroyed two armored vehicles,” said a KPDF member.

Three villagers living near Ngwe Taung dam were also killed, although the cause of their deaths is not known, and many other villagers have fled their homes, he added.

Fierce fighting between the KPDF and regime soldiers broke out on Friday. More than 40 junta troops, including police, have been killed after the KPDF attacked and destroyed police stations in Demoso Township and Shan State’s Pekon Township and Moebyel Town.

A source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Irrawaddy that Lieutenant General Soe Htut, the Home Affairs Minister on the junta’s governing body, the State Administration Council, arrived in Loikaw on Tuesday.

Junta-appointed Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant General Soe Htut/ The Irrawaddy

Lt-Gen Soe Htut has responsibility for police stations in Myanmar, but The Irrawaddy was unable to verify independently if he would be visiting the areas where police stations were attacked.

Junta forces fired randomly in Loikaw from 11pm to midnight on Sunday night. At least nine civilians died from the regime gunfire. The sound of artillery firing was also heard in villages outside Loikaw.

On Monday morning, a resident told The Irrawaddy that one civilian was killed by a shot to his head while his arms were tied behind his back in Loikaw’s Noh Koe Village. His body was dumped in a ditch.

Four civilians were also killed on Monday morning when regime forces shelled and shot at a Catholic church in Loikaw’s Kayan Thaya (South) Village. Their bodies were taken away by regime troops.

Civilians have been sheltering in the church since Sunday night, when fighting broke out nearby between civilian resistance forces and regime soldiers.

A civilian who was driving his motorbike was shot and killed on Sunday afternoon as well.

Loikaw residents have been staying in their homes since the city was attacked with heavy artillery on Monday.

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