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KNU rejoins melee along border near Manerplaw

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Clashes in eastern Karen State between Burmese Army and Karen National Union guerrilla forces yesterday morning killed at least three junta soldiers, according to a KNU district leader today.

krean-knu1story1More than 200 junta troops from light infantry battalions (LIB) 106 and 61 under Military Operations Command 19 engaged more than 20 soldiers from guerilla force 202 under KNU Brigade 7 yesterday at around 7 a.m., KNU district chairman Padoh Saw Aung Maw Aye said.

The guerrillas ambushed junta troops with rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47 assault rifle fire and claymore mines in an attack that killed a Burmese Army sergeant, a company commander and a private, and wounded another junta soldier, he said.

The reports however could not yet be verified by independent sources.

Yesterday’s ambush by units of the KNU’s armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), prevented the junta troops’ advance to Maethawaw, a source told Mizzima.

“The junta troops came here to flush out our troops from the area but we can’t accept their plan.  – for our own survival, we had to have a head-on collision,” KNU general secretary Major Saw Hla Ngwe told Mizzima.

Meanwhile, firefights between Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) battalion 909 – part of a splinter brigade that withdrew from a long-held ceasefire agreement with the junta – and Burmese Army IBs 588 and 408 kicked off in the Lole area of Kyando Township, Kawkereik District yesterday, DKBA faction spokesman Major Chit Sayar told Mizzima over the phone.

Though there were no casualties on either side, the junta was reinforcing its troops in the area to annihilate the DKBA and KNU troops, he said. The Burmese Army plan ensured that fresh fighting was inevitable, he added.

Since November 8, at least 30,000 villagers have fled clashes between Karen and junta troops and returned home, criss-crossing the Thai-Burmese border between Burma and Mae Sot, Photphra and Umphang in Thailand during ebbs and flows in the fighting, according to staff at Mae Tao Clinic, which has been providing assistance to the refugees.

“We haven’t got enough food for them as the number of refugees is increasing, so we distributed dry rations directly,” Mae Tao Clinic field operator Nay Oo said.

He added that many war refugees were taking shelter in the open air, under bushes or beside border streams in Burma, creating makeshift homes from plastic sheets amid fears of deportation by Thai authorities when the fighting subsided.

As the Burmese regime bolsters its forces in the conflict zones of eastern Burma, the likelihood of disputes escalating increases. The governor of neighbouring Tak province, Samart Loifa, told BBC he had instructed all township administrators to prepare basic necessities such as tents, portable bathrooms, food, drinking water and medicine to meet a potential fresh influx refugees.

Last Updated ( Friday, 15 July 2011 13:35 )  

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