by Don Talenywun
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 19:26
Mae Sot, Thailand (Mizzima) – A demolition operation by the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), an ethnic armed rebel group, has destroyed a D6 Caterpillar bulldozer and a 20-tonne excavator near the village of Ta-ah Tah in Karen State in Burma.
The special KNLA squad, formed with soldiers of the Sixth Brigade’s 201 and 103 battalions, took the machines out with two kilograms of TNT.
The depot is on the western side of the southern reaches of the Dawna Mountain Range, about five days’ walk from the Burmese border town of Myawaddy.
KNLA forward scouts strapped the explosives under the engines and detonated them at 1 am on September 21 with a remote.
Sources said the machines were used in mining and in building the new military road by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, a group that broke away from the Karen National Union, the political wing of the KNLA. DKBA soldiers reportedly gave chase after the explosions rocked their depot.
The KNLA soldiers evaded their pursuers, from the DKBA’s 907 Battalion, for more than two hours, and then led them into a claymore booby trap, killing two and seriously injuring two others.
The D6 Caterpillar was estimated to be worth about three million Thai Baht and the excavator two million Baht. They were the only two machines stationed at the depot.
DKBA Battalion 907 was instrumental in the offensive against KNLA’s Seventh Brigade during June and July this year that forced more than 5,000 Karen villagers across the Thai border.
Battalion 907 has since been deployed to the Sixth Brigade region.
The formation of a special demolition squad specifically to destroy the machines would seem to be an extension of the KNU Vice President David Thackrabaw’s declaration earlier this year that the KNLA had to start operating “deep behind enemy lines”.
The KNLA has endured serious territorial losses in the past 12 months.