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KNU promises to support DKBA

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Spurning 16 years of antagonism, the Karen National Union (KNU) has announced they will assist the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) following the latter’s military offensives launched against the junta.

“When the crisis reaches its climax, we must fully support the DKBA,” Pa-an district KNU chairman Padoh Saw Aung Maw Aye related.

Fighting erupted this morning between the Burmese Army, comprising about 250 troops under Military Operations Commands 19, and DKBA Brigade 5, led by Colonel Saw La Pwe, alias Bo Moustache, in Myawaddy just opposite the Thai border. Similarly, DKBA Battalion 907 seized key strategic positions in the vicinity of Three Pagodas Pass to the south.

An unconfirmed military source said approximately 20 government soldiers and eight DKBA troops were injured at Three Pagodas Pass, with the DKBA further claiming they set three government offices ablaze, including a communications office and a polling station.

According to some observers, Border Guard Force (BGF) troops have cooperated with the DKBA in attacking junta troops at both Myawaddy and Three Pagodas Pass.

One of the Border Guard Forces allegedly cooperating with the DKBA is the battalion led by DKBA second-in-command Lieutenant Moatthone, a brother-in-law of Colonel Saw La Pwe.

According to residents, both sides suffered heavy casualties in Myawaddy, though exact figures have not been obtainable.

An officer from the junta’s Military Operations Commands 19, when contacted by Mizzima, said they have been ordered to engage the Karen rebels until Myawaddy is firmly in the government’s control.

A local resident said Burmese troops are stationed around Kyankhinn Monastery and the Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge.

“From my home I saw many [Burmese Army] troops near the bridge. There are DKBA troops within a short distance. So, we dare not go outside. I can’t guess what will happen,” added an individual who lives near the Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge.

About 15,000 refugees have reportedly fled across the Moei River to Thailand to avoid the battles in Myawaddy and are taking refuge at temporary shelters in a military compound in Mae Sot, Thailand, the Thai News Network announced.

Thais from Mae Sot as well as Non-governmental Organisations are providing emergency relief, but the shelters are not enough to house all refugees.
Last Updated ( Friday, 15 July 2011 13:40 )  

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