Over 1,400 Myanmar Troops, 150 Resistance Fighters Killed in Kayah Since Coup

By The Irrawaddy 2 August 2022

More than 1,400 Myanmar junta soldiers and almost 150 resistance fighters were killed during clashes in Kayah State over the past 14 months since last year’s military coup.

Armed resistance against military rule in the state began in late May last year while regime forces were conducting lethal crackdowns on peaceful anti-regime demonstrations across the country. 

Since then, intense firefights, heavy air strikes and bombardments have been reported in the state nearly every day. 

Currently, the Karenni Nationalities Defense Forces (KNDF); the Karenni Army—which is the armed wing of the Karenni National Progressive Party—and many People’s Defense Force groups are fighting against regime forces in the state and in neighboring townships in southern Shan State. 

The Progressive Karenni People Force (PKPF), an ethnic rights group that documents human rights violations and incidents in the state, said on Monday that 1,451 regime troops and 147 resistance fighters were killed in a total of 393 clashes through July 31. During the clashes, the junta conducted 157 air strikes on both resistance forces and civilian areas. 

The PKPF said 255 civilians were killed during the incidents along with 38 internally displaced persons. Meanwhile, 260 civilians have been detained by regime forces. 

Military weapons, ammunition and equipment seized by resistance forces during a raid on regime forces in Hpruso Township, Kayah State in June / KNDF

A total of 1,133 houses and 23 religious buildings were also destroyed in regime forces’ indiscriminate attacks and arson attacks. 

As of May 31, 153,600 people out of an estimated total population of 300,000 in Kayah State had been forced to flee their homes due to the conflict, according to the Institute for Strategy and Policy Myanmar, a think tank. 

The resistance group KNDF said on Monday that a total of 48 clashes with regime forces broke out in the state in July alone, killing 88 junta soldiers and two resistance members. In the shootouts, the military regime conducted 21 air strikes against resistance forces.

Regime forces also looted 60 million kyats (US$32,500) in cash and stole a civilian vehicle while torching a house, two vehicles and three motorbikes. 

During the clashes, resistance forces managed to seize 21 military weapons and some ammunition, the KNDF claimed. 

The Myanmar junta faces increasingly intense attacks and ambushes from PDFs and ethnic armed organizations across the country nearly every day.