SAC airstrikes, shelling and shooting kill 14 civilians and injure 6 as resistance forces seize control of southeast Karenni State
During the past two weeks, the main battleground in Karenni State has shifted to the southern townships, where the SAC has launched multiple airstrikes, but been unable to prevent resistance forces from seizing control of most of Mese township – with the help of the Karenni Nationalities People’s Liberation Front (KNPLF), who have defected from the SAC’s Border Guard Force to rejoin the resistance. The SAC has continued to inflict collective punishment for its losses, not only indiscriminately bombing and shelling civilian areas, but also shooting civilians on sight. This has caused most of the residents of Pasaung town – about 20,000 people — to flee their homes, and about 500 residents of Ywathit town to flee to the jungle.
On June 21, a patrol of 120 SAC soldiers clashed with combined Karenni forces — Pasaung PDF, Bawlake PDF, Loikaw PDF and KA — at the Salween bridge, Pasaung town, leaving ten SAC soldiers dead and five of the resistance troops injured. Indiscriminate SAC shelling into Pasaung town injured a civilian in the stomach and a Buddhist abbot in the hand. That night, at midnight, SAC launched an airstrike on Lukupara village, western Pruso township, even though there was no fighting in the area at the time, dropping three bombs which damaged six houses including a school and injured a civilian.
On June 23, at 4 am, SAC aircraft bombed Do Raw village in western Pruso township, killing a 52-year-old man, injuring two children under five years old and their mom, and damaging a church and four houses. On the same day, at 5 pm, combined Karenni forces occupied a SAC outpost east of Mese town. After the clash, four SAC fighter jets bombed the area.
On June 24, eighteen SAC soldiers from Nam Paw outpost in Mese township near BP 13 on the Thai-Burma border, surrendered with their arms to combined Karenni forces. On the same day, the dead body of a civilian was found at Nam Kit village in Pasaung township by the Free Burma Rangers aid group.
On June 25, at noon, SAC aircraft bombed Nam Kit village in Pasaung township eight times, killing four men, and damaging a church and some houses. On the same day, at 6 pm, the SAC dropped six bombs near Ywathit town.
On June 27, a large number of SAC troops deployed to Ywathit sub-township clashed with combined Karenni forces, killing five of the resistance soldiers. On the same day, SAC troops shot dead four civilians in Ywathit town and about 500 residents of Ywathit town to flee to the jungle
On June 28, the SAC fired artillery shells indiscriminately and launched airstrikes on Wan Aw village, Pasaung township, killing a 56-year-old man, damaging eight houses and setting alight one house. On the same day, at noon, the SAC bombed the 10 Mile Kone village near the Mawchi mines in Pasaung township.
On June 29, from 8 am to 12 pm, there were heavy clashes between SAC and Karenni Army troops near the Thai-Burma border near BP 10. After the clashes, a SAC fighter jet bombed the area, leaving a KA soldier dead. On the same day, two villagers returning from their farms were shot dead by SAC soldiers in Ywathit town.
On June 30, a SAC fighter jet was shot down by combined Karenni forces in Ywathit township; this was confirmed by the Karenni Nationalities People’s Liberation Front (KNPLF). On the same day, an elderly couple returning with rations to an IDP camp in Moebye township were shot at by SAC troops in Segan quarter 1, Moebye town, and the 63-year-old husband was killed.
Due to the heavy clashes, indiscriminate shelling and airstrikes in Pasaung township, from June 15 to the end of June, about 20,000 civilians have fled in various directions: to nearby jungle as well as to Loikaw, Mawchi, Inle, Taunggyi and the Thai-Burma border. About 500 civilians from Ywathit town have also fled to the jungle during the last week of June.