Seven junta aircraft dropped cluster bombs on the Cobra Column group, led by a KNU officer, in an effort to seize back control of the Myawaddy-Waw Lay road.
Chinese businessman She Zhijiang is wanted in China and was arrested by Thai police last week; his gambling ‘new city’ in Karen State is highly controversial.
They were among a unit of regime troops that was decimated by Cobra Column on the road leading to a strategic outpost in Karen State, the group said.
The Cobra Column resistance group said it found five dead soldiers, including a captain, after a clash on the road to the military’s Ukayit Hta outpost in Karen State.
Two junta jets bombed an Arakan Army base in an area controlled by the KNLA near the Thai border Monday, killing and wounding AA troops and destroying buildings.
According to the Karen ethnic armed organization, nearly 1,800 regime soldiers were killed in clashes with its armed wings in the first five months of the year.
Thay Baw Boe in Karen State was used by the military to reinforce frontline troops; the KNLA and allied resistance fighters seized it despite being hit by air strikes.
Also this week, the regime’s diplomatic spat with the UK escalated and Min Aung Hlaing resorted to old clichés about ‘foreign interference’
The KNU told The Irrawaddy in an interview that the junta’s administration, as well as its troops, must be targeted if the regime is to be brought down.
Aid workers said the displaced persons camp in Lay Kay Kaw, recently the scene of intense fighting between junta and resistance forces, lacks isolation facilities.
The group added that regime forces’ artillery and airstrikes have displaced tens of thousands of civilians, creating a humanitarian crisis in southeastern Myanmar.
The Irrawaddy documents the plight of some of the thousands of villagers forced to flee fighting in Karen State to temporary camps on the Moei River on the Thai border.
This week the military regime also admitted surprise at the armed resistance to its rule and proposed a voting system it believes will improve its dismal election record.
The humanitarian situation is deteriorating as civilians seek refuge in Thailand amid continued fighting, including junta air strikes, in and around Lay Kay Kaw.
Some 5,000 villagers have crossed the border and about 10,000 are displaced in the area as the regime intensifies its offensives near the Thai border in Karen State.