Myanmar Military Troops Killed as KNLA Protects Protesters in Mon State

By The Irrawaddy 24 April 2021

At least two Myanmar military soldiers were killed during a series of clashes with the armed wing of the Karen National Union (KNU) in Thaton Township, Mon State on Friday.

During clashes with the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)’s Brigade 1, four regime soldiers were also seriously injured, according to local residents.

A resident told The Irrawaddy that fighting broke out in two locations in Thaton District at around 6 a.m. while KNLA troops were providing security for anti-regime protesters.

Around 100 anti-coup protesters gathered in front of a local school to protest against the military regime and show support for the National Unity Government formed by elected lawmakers from the ousted National League for Democracy.

“About 10 Myanmar soldiers were heading to the protest event to crack down on the protesters. Before they arrived at the event, the KNLA opened fire to protect us,” a resident said.

One civilian was also injured in the leg during the fighting, he said.

The military troops later returned with reinforcements and opened fire randomly near the protest areas. However, no one was injured as the protesters had already dispersed.

The Yangon-Mawlamyine Highway was also temporarily closed due to the fighting on Friday morning, according to residents.

However, the military fired several artillery shells into villages near the KNLA’s Brigade 1 at around 10 p.m. As a result, hundreds of villagers were forced to flee from their homes.

Tension has risen between the military and the KLNA in Hpapun district and Bago Township since the KNU publicly denounced the military coup. The KNU leader, Padoh Saw Mutu Say Poe, has refused to meet with coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing until his troops stop killing civilians and free all detainees arrested after the coup.

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