Attacks on KNLA Continue

The Burmese army and the ceasefire Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) are shelling the main base of Brigade 7 of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) with long-distance mortars, according to Karen sources.

Karen relief and human rights organizations said that the Burmese army and DKBA troops have started advancing on the Brigade 7 base following a long-distance attack on KNLA Battalion 21 that began at 1 am local time today.A new offensive by pro-junta forces that began on June 1 with an attack on KNLA Brigade 6 has displaced more than 2,000 people, forcing many to flee to Thailand, according to Karen aid groups.
David Takapaw, the vice-chairman of the KNLA’s political wing, the Karen National Union (KNU), said that the DKBA was recruiting about 20,000 troops to launch more attacks.

He added that the current offensive appeared to be aimed at eliminating KNLA bases along the Thai-Burmese border ahead of a push by the Burmese junta to establish a new border security force consisting of DKBA troops under the command of the Burmese army.

The recent attacks were being launched by Burmese battalions under Light Infantry Division 22 and DKBA Battalion 999, according to the KNU.

Karen refugees are now staying in Ta Song Yang District in Thailand’s Tak Province, according to the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG).

Poe Shen, a field director for the KHRG, said the fleeing villagers include residents of the villages of See Poh Kee, Mae Lah Ah Kee and Mae Lah Ah in Pa-an District.

Poe Shen said it was risky for Karen refugees to stay in a camp for internally displaced persons in Ler Per Her, on the Thai border, because the camp is located near KNLA Battalions 101, 21 and 22. The camp houses more than 1,200 people from Pa-an District.

In response to the offensive, KNLA soldiers launched two guerrilla-style attacks on Burmese troops on June 2-3 and planted landmines. Five Burmese soldiers were reported killed and eight injured in the attacks, according to a KHRG report.


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