MYANMAR JUNTA TROOPS AMBUSHED IN SHAN STATE
At least 20 Myanmar military soldiers were reportedly killed or wounded on Monday, after Karenni resistance fighters ambushed a convoy of junta reinforcements in Pinlaung, Shan State in southeastern Myanmar.
On Monday afternoon, members of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) from Pekon Township attacked a convoy of 45 military vehicles near Saung Pyaung Village in Pinlaung.
The KNDF said that the military regime reinforcements were travelling from Kalaw Township in Shan State to Demoso Township in Kayah State, where junta troops have encountered strong resistance from the combined forces of the KNDF and the Karenni Army, the armed wing of the Karenni National Progressive Party.
During the subsequent shootout, there were 20 military casualties, while no civilian fighters were killed or wounded, a KNDF spokesperson told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Myanmar military soldiers based in Moebye in Pekon Township opened fire randomly on nearby villages with heavy weapons. Some civilians were injured by the artillery fire, the KNDF said.
Regime forces were forced to retreat from Kone Thar Village in Demoso Township on Sunday, despite being reinforced and using heavy weapons, after facing intense resistance from Karenni armed groups for two days, Junta troops raided Kone Thar last Thursday.
Over 10 regime soldiers were killed in Kone Thar over the weekend, and two members of the KNDF died. One of the two KNDF fighters killed was slain on Sunday after being captured by junta troops.
A 70-year-old villager wearing a t-shirt bearing the United Nations emblem was also shot dead in Kone Thar on Sunday by regime forces. Another civilian died on the weekend in an explosion after he was caught in the middle of a firefight while travelling in a vehicle.
Junta troops raided homes in Kone Thar during the weekend clashes and burned down some 30 houses, according to the KNDF.
Armed opposition to the military regime began in late May in Kayah State. Since then, junta forces and Karenni resistance forces have clashed in four townships – Bawlakhe, Demoso, Hpruso and Loikaw, across Kayah State, as well in Moebye, Pekon and Pinlaung in neighboring Shan State.