Burma

Resistance in Myanmar’s Demoso Claims It Killed 350 Junta Troops in Jan-March

By The Irrawaddy 4 April 2022

More than 300 junta troops were reportedly killed during a series of intense firefights with the People’s Defense Force in Kayah State’s Demoso in the first three months of this year.

Demoso is one of the major towns in Kayah State after its capital Loikaw.

Demoso-People’s Defense Force (PDF) said in a statement on Sunday that from Jan. 1 to March 31, 350 soldiers were killed in 67 firefights.

Fourteen resistance fighters also lost their lives during the fighting and some were severely injured, it added. The Irrawaddy couldn’t independently verify the fatalities.

Kayah State has been one of the most active resistance areas against the regime in Myanmar. Heavy fighting between the local PDFs and junta soldiers has raged in towns since last year. 

The junta responded to the heavy losses by escalating military operations and its violence against civilians, including indiscriminate artillery shelling and airstrikes on civilian targets, killings of civilians and torching of houses.

Intense fighting broke out between the local PDF and regime soldiers in Demoso and surrounding areas last month. 

According to the Demoso-PDF, 495 civilian houses were set on fire by the junta’s forces and 94 other civilian houses were destroyed by the junta’s artillery shells in the past three months. Junta forces also killed at least eight innocent civilians in Demoso Township, the group said.

State-based resistance groups said villagers who remain in their homes are being tortured, killed and used as human shields.

When regime forces pass, they burn villages and conduct aerial and artillery strikes against villages and displacement camps, residents say.

The junta has also blocked the main supply routes into the area in an apparent attempt to isolate Demoso. 

In the two weeks since the regime forces blocked the supply lines, making it difficult for refugees to carry food, the fighting has eased somewhat.

“They blocked all three main roads into Demoso so refugees are finding it difficult to carry food,” a spokesperson for the Demoso-PDF said. 

A majority of Kayah State’s population of 200,000 have been displaced by fighting, with clashes taking place almost daily. 

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