Military tensions are growing between junta troops and local resistance groups along the Dawei-Htee Khee Road in southern Myanmar’s Tanintharyi Region, after resistance fighters attacked a police station in Pagayi Village along the road.
The Karen National Defense Organization Brigade 4 and People’s Defense Forces (PDF) from Dawei and Launglon townships attacked Pagayi Police Station, some ten miles from the Tanintharyi capital Dawei, on Sunday. In response, junta forces have shelled Pagayi Village since Monday, according to locals.
One Pagayi villager told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday: “A Dawei artillery unit fired shells on the evening of April 25. Junta troops also fired heavy guns from a nearby hill. We heard around 500 junta soldiers marched to Pagayi this morning through the forest and are in the village. The villagers have already fled to nearby villages.”
Junta troops are deployed at a rubber processing plant near the village, according to locals. A resistance fighter was killed by a junta artillery strike on Monday.
Regime forces have warned resistance fighters to withdraw from the village or be attacked.
“They told the PDF to withdraw and threatened them with an attack if they don’t. It appears that the PDF will not withdraw. Clashes could erupt tonight or tomorrow,” a source close to local resistance forces told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.
Residents in and around the neighborhood of Pagayi Village have been warned by junta troops not to go outside from 2pm until dawn.
A local villager said: “The regime imposes an 8pm-4am curfew in the urban areas of Dawei Township. But they have no control over Launglon and Pagayi.”
Locals from Pagayi and a neighboring village have fled to nearby villages for fear of a possible clash. The regime closed the border with Thailand at Htee Khee on Monday following the PDF’s attack on the Pagayi Police Station.
On Sunday, the Dawei Township People’s Authority of the parallel National Unity Government urged people to avoid the Dawei-Htee Khee Road, as the regime is using it to bring in reinforcements and supplies and clashes could break out at any time with resistance groups.
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