Burmese army takes aim remaining Karen troops in Three Pagoda Pass Township

Fri 10 Jul 2009, IMNA,
After heavy fighting the Burmese government forces are now advancing with the intention of routing the Karen insurgent forces from the border area of Three Pagoda Pass Township. Karen villagers flee in the wake of the Burmese military advance.

Armed forces from the Burmese State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is planning to rout the Karen National Union’s (KNU) armed forces, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), from the Three Pagoda Pass (TPP) area, according to sources from the KNLA army groups.

After SPDC and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) success in seizing the headquarters of the KNLA Brigade 7 in June, the Burmese/DKBA combined force will press its offensive against the KNLA Brigade 6, according to sources from the KNU and the Karen Peace Force (KPF) in Three Pagoda Pass.

“The Burmese army will route us; they will cooperate with the KPF and the DKBA and will fight us near Three Pagoda Pass,“ said a source from the KNU.

This June on 26, the Military Operation Management Command (MOMC) No. 19 began marching a portion of its battalions to Makate and TPP. Four Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) No. 282, No. 283, No. 284 and No. 356 arrived in Makate, while LIB No. 356 pushed on to station itself near TPP town.

On July 8th the DKBA engaged the KNU at Makate, where its rumored two DKBA soldiers were killed while the KNU sustained no casualties, though these reports cannot be confirmed by IMNA.
After the KNU’s recent battle with the DKBA, the KNU is preparing a counter offensive against DKBA forces.

The SPDC force joined with the DKBA in fighting with the KNU in Makate and the TPP area on July 8th according to a member of the Sa Ya Pa [Burmese Military Intelligence].

“The Burmese army is also involved in fighting – some of the Burmese army, MOMC No. 19, is marching to that area [Makate],” explained the Sa Ya Pa agent.

A senior official of the New Mon State party (NMSP), the largest Mon political group in the region, heard that the Burmese army was advancing to Makate and that it intended to clean the area of KNU troops.

The fighting has affected the lives of numerous residents in the region. Karen residents are particularly frightened of the DKBA and KNU fighting, explaining that they worry the situation will unfold similarly to that in Myawaddy and Mae Sot. Said one concerned resident from TPP, “Some Karen people are sleeping on the Thai side of the border at night because of they are afraid the KNU and DKBA fighting will grow beyond what it was before.”

After Brigade 7 was seized near Myawaddy and Mae Sot there were wide spread reports of abuse by the advancing SPDC forces, that villagers who had not fled were used as porters, used to clear mines with their bodies, and tortured. The Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) released a statement on June 22 that many Karen families are facing serious threats to their safety due to ongoing fighting between the advancing SPDC and DKBA forces, and the KNU. About 4,000 Karen refugees have thus far fled into Thailand during the Burmese offensive against the KNU.

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