Myanmar Junta Airstrikes Continue Near Thai Border

By The Irrawaddy 11 January 2022

Myanmar’s regime has used aircraft to attack the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) in Myawaddy and Kawkareik townships, Karen State, on Sunday and Monday.

Fighting continued in Palu village in Myawaddy on the Thai border on Tuesday while the junta each day uses artillery on Lay Kay Kaw new town and Palu along with regular airstrikes, according to the Karen National Union (KNU), the political wing of the KNLA.

Two junta helicopters fired on villages in Kawkareik following fighting on Monday morning, the KNU said.

Around 1,900 residents of seven villages in southern Kawkareik have fled their homes during recent clashes.

Junta artillery injured eight villagers on Saturday after an oil tanker was burned on Friday on the Asia Highway in Kawkareik.

In Myawaddy the Light Infantry Battalion 560 and Infantry Battalion 275 advanced on Palu and confronted the KNLA. Junta artillery destroyed houses in the village following fighting on Monday.

Junta airstrikes tend to follow defeats for its ground troops, said Padoh Saw Taw Nee, a KNU central standing committee member.

He said the KNU had urged the junta to withdraw its troops and stop using artillery and aircraft.

“As long as regime troops are there, the area will not be peaceful,” he said.

A junta helicopter was seen above Winraw village in Kyainseikgyi Township on Monday.

Medics treat a villager injured by junta artillery in Myoe Taung village, Kawkareik Township, Karen State on January 8. / KNU

The KNU said KNLA troops found landmines left inside civilian homes by junta troops in Mae Htaw Talay village in Myawaddy, hampering villagers’ efforts to return home.

Residents fled Palu, Mae Htaw Talay and Lay Kay Kaw when fighting began in mid-December.

Junta soldiers raided the new town on Dec. 14, alleging that democracy activists and people’s defense force (PDFs) resistance fighters were hiding in the new town.

Junta raids followed accusations the KNU, Myanmar’s oldest revolutionary force, was supporting and sheltering striking civil servants and resistance groups.

Nearly 5,000 villagers have crossed the Thai border and around 20,000 civilians are internally displaced, according to the KNLA and relief workers.

Ma Sandar, 42, from Palu, who is sheltering in Thailand, said they would not return until the fighting stopped.

“I heard our house was destroyed by artillery,” she told The Irrawaddy.

Fighting has been reported in almost KNU-held territory in Karen and Mon states and Bago and Tanintharyi regions, said Padoh Saw Taw Nee.

Villagers have also reported junta arson attacks within KNU territory. On Monday, five Pa Wut Kone village houses in Palaw Township, Tanintharyi Region, were burned by the junta.

On Sunday, two Ei Hel villagers in Hpa-an Township, Karen State, were injured by junta artillery. A shell hit an 88-year-old woman’s house, injuring her stomach and a seven-year-old boy’s neck.

Last year the KNLA and junta clashed 3,152 times and more than 2,100 junta soldiers were killed, the KNU reported on January 7.

The KNLA lost 42 troops and 130 were injured, while more than 50,000 civilians were displaced, the KNU said.

The group said 31 civilians were killed and 86 injured by junta artillery and airstrikes in KNU-controlled territory in Nyaung Lay Pin, Papun and Myawaddy districts.


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