Saturday, June 20, 2009

Joint Force Focuses Offensive on KNLA Brigade 7 Headquarters

The Irrawaddy News

A joint force of troops from the Burmese army and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), a ceasefire militia group, has focused its offensive on the headquarters of Brigade 7 of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), according to Karen sources.

In response, KNLA Brigade 7 has increased its mortar shelling of the joint force, said the sources.

The clash between the two armed groups has been intensifying around the KNLA Brigade 7 headquarters since early this week, with heavy shelling being carried out by both sides.

The joint force, which earlier vowed that it would take over the KNLA Brigade 7 headquarters by June 16, is still facing stiff resistance.

On June 17, fighting and mortar shelling continued for almost an entire day without interruption, according to Saw Steve, a relief worker who is also a leader of the Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People, whose units operate in the fighting zone.

“KNLA Brigade 7 is not going to lose its headquarters easily,” he added.

The combined force has already taken over three military bases belonging to Battalions 21, 22 and 101 of KNLA Brigade 7.

Sources from the Karen Nation Union (KNU), the political wing of the KNLA, said that they allowed the three military bases to be captured because they did not want to kill fellow Karen soldiers who were fighting alongside Burmese troops.

The KNU claimed about 20 soldiers from the joint force were killed and about 50 were injured, while five KNLA soldiers were hospitalized in Mae Sot, a Thai border town.

Sources said that the fighting is expected to intensify further as KNLA Brigade 7 seeks to defend its headquarters.

The joint force started its offensive against KNLA Brigade 7 in the first week of June. Fierce fighting between the two sides since then has forced about 4,000 Karen refugees to flee to Thailand for safety.

The DKBA split from its mother organization, the KNU, and reached a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese regime in 1995.

The KNU has been fighting for autonomy for six decades and has never signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese military government.

Recent Posts from Burma Wants Freedom and Democracy

Recent posts from WHO is WHO in Burma


The Nuke Light of Myanmar Fan Box
The Nuke Light of Myanmar on Facebook
Promote your Page too