Clashes Continue in Karen State
Clashes continued into a second day on Thursday in Kyauk Khet between Burmese government forces and Brigade 5, a renegade faction of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), with light casualties on both sides, according to Karen sources.
Fighting had broken out on Wednesday morning in Kyauk Khet, which is in Myawaddy Township in southern Karen State, close to the Thai border. A Brigade 5 spokesman said that 26 Burmese soldiers were killed and 35 were injured in the clash, but could not confirm any figures from Thursdays' fighting.
Some 200 local villagers are reported to have fled their homes to escape the fighting and have taken refuge at a shelter in Phop Phra District in Thailand's Tak Province.
Brig-Gen Na Kham Mwe, the commander of DKBA Brigade 5, told The Irrawaddy that the Burmese army transferred its wounded to Myawaddy hospital on Thursday.
Some 200 soldiers from Burma's Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) 546, 548 and 549, under Tactical Operation Command (TOC) 12, and LIB 356 and 357 under TOC 9, were involved in the fighting, according to a DKBA officer, Col. Kyaw Thet.
The DKBA also claimed that about 30 Burmese soldiers were killed and injured in a clash in Palu village in Kyauk Khet area on Sunday.
The DKBA also accused the Thai authorities of complicity when Burmese troops crossed the border in order to launch an attack on Brigade 5 from Thai soil.
About two weeks ago, a undisclosed number of Burmese soldiers were killed when their boat was ambushed while traveling on the Salween River in eastern Karen State.
Fighting has intensified between DKBA Brigade 5 and Burmese troops since Nov. 8, one day after a general election in Burma. The fighting escalated when another Karen armed group, the Karen National Union, became involved, as did the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front.
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