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Sixteen Junta troops die in guerilla ambush, says KNLA

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) ambushed a junta convoy transporting rations, arms and personnel on Thursday, killing 16 soldiers and wounding 17, according to KNLA sources.

A Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) soldier mans a heavy machine gun at the front line of a 60-year conflict in this undated photo. Photo: MizzimaA Company, led by Captain Myat Htoo, and a Security Company, led by Captain Se Nar Hu, both from Battalion 201, ambushed the convoy of 27 trucks carrying more than 300 troops to Kanelay and Bayintnaung in the Waw Lay area.

“We got a tip-off that a reinforcement convoy was heading to that area, so we ambushed them’, said Major Kyi Aung, the battalion’s second-in-command.

Major Kyi Aung told Mizzima that KNLA guerillas attacked the junta troops three times, starting Thursday morning with M16 assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades. Junta troops retaliated with small arms fire and 80 mm and 120 mm mortar shells. The fighting halted about 6 p.m.

‘We know this area well, and we opened fire  only when we had the best chance of hitting the targets’, said Major Kyi Aung. ‘We inflicted heavy casualties. Later, when they counter-attacked with heavy weapons, we had to retreat but we didn’t suffer any casualties’.

The trucks from the convoy are unable to move and more clashes are likely to take place, he said.
The number of dead and wounded could not be confirmed.

According to a KNLA 2010 battle report, there have been a total of 1,083 clashes between junta troops and the KNLA in the 7th Brigade area, which killed 618 junta troops and wounded 1,304 and led to the detention of 16 prisoners of war. The KNLA lost 19 soldiers and eight were wounded.

The KNU uses landmines in its control areas and also uses guerilla warfare techniques in fighting junta troops. The KNLA suffered far fewer casualties because of its knowledge of the topography, the report said.

Rumours now circulating in the area say that heavy fighting will break out as urban warfare in Myawaddy  on the Thai-Burmese border after graduation examinations are completed in mid-March.

Myawaddy has been the site of several bombings in recent months, which have caused a serious loss of business in the area. At the same time, cross border trade has been the victim of customs gate closures in recent weeks.

Because of the fear over potential urban warfare in the city, some affluent families are building shelters under their homes and some have moved to other cities. Many merchants have moved to Kawthaung, sources said.

Meanwhile, one day after the general election held by the junta on November 7, 2010, war broke out between junta troops and a break-away faction of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) which refused to accept the junta’s offer of converting its army into the Border Guard Force (BGF).

Last Updated ( Friday, 11 March 2011 18:31 )  

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