Fighting has intensified in Kyainseikgyi Township, Karen State, leaving at least three junta soldiers dead and more than 10, including a captain, captured, according to the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).
Four members of the KNLA, the armed wing of the longest-running revolutionary force, the Karen National Union (KNU), were injured and four civilians died, the group said.
Fighting occurred near the headquarters of the 32 Infantry Battalion on Monday morning.
Tensions are high across the state, including around Lay Kay Kaw new town and Kawkareik in Myawaddy district. Armed engagements are being reported in Kyainseikgyi and near the Three Pagoda pass on the Thai border, said Padoh Saw Taw Nee, the KNU’s spokesman.
Myanmar’s regime reinforced Lay Kay Kaw and Kawkareik towns following a letter from the KNLA’s 6 Brigade to the military’s Southeastern Command on March 7 telling junta troops to leave the brigade’s territory within three days to allow displaced civilians to return home.
On Saturday, junta jets bombed three locations held by the KNLA’s 5 Brigade in Papun district, following a KNLA attack on junta troops last Friday.
On Friday, three junta soldiers were killed, 16 captured and weaponry was seized in fighting with the KNLA and a resistance group, the Bamar People Liberation Army, according to Mutraw District News in Papun.
Padoh Mahn Mahn, KNLA 5 Brigade’s spokesman, confirmed the detention of 16 regime soldiers from 97 Light Infantry Battalion.
Fighting intensified around Lay Kay Kaw with the KNLA’s 6 Brigade in mid-December. The junta has launched airstrikes on civilians and resistance fighters.
In February, 421 clashes were reported between junta forces and the KNLA and people’s defense forces. The KNU said more than 300 junta troops, including personnel from the military-backed Karen Border Guard Force, died and at least 228 were injured, while the KNLA lost 16 troops and reported 27 injuries.
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