Published on May 31, 2021
Regime forces used helicopters to attack civilian resistance fighters in Kayah (Karenni) State’s Demoso Township from the air on Monday afternoon, according to a member of the Karenni People’s Defence Force (KPDF).
The KPDF was formed by Karenni youth fighters mostly armed with traditional weapons—such as handmade rifles—to defend their region against the junta’s offensives.
The KPDF member told Myanmar Now that the military’s troops opened fire on them from a helicopter and also dropped bombs in their vicinity, starting from around 5pm.
“Do you hear the sound of airplanes? They were shooting at us from a helicopter, bombing and opening fire. We have to crouch down low now,” he said over the phone.
At the time of reporting, at least five bombs had been dropped from above, he added.
Clashes broke out when KPDF members ambushed regime soldiers at Dawh Ngan Kha ward in Demoso at around noon, he said.
Following the attack, the military launched some 20 rounds of heavy artillery—such as 120mm shells—from the base of Artillery Battalion 356 in the neighbouring town of Loikaw, he added.
“We attacked with light weapons but they responded with artillery shells. They are still firing now and we can’t go outside yet,” said the KPDF member from Demoso.
Clashes were still ongoing at 6:30pm and the regime reportedly used long-range weapons including howitzers, according to the KPDF. Myanmar Now was unable to verify which arms were used in the battle.
At the time of reporting, there was no information available regarding casualties.
The KPDF claimed that 106 regime soldiers had been killed in clashes in Demoso and Loikaw, as well as in Moebye in southern Shan State, where fighting broke out on May 21.
Around 26 civilians, including multiple KPDF members, were also killed in those battles.
The regime authorities have blocked entrances into Kayah State from Shan State to the north, and transportation routes to Loikaw have also been cut off.
Tens of thousands of locals in Kayah State fled their homes following the recent intensified fighting and are in urgent need of food and access to medical treatment, locals have reported.
Source – Myanmar military launches airstrikes against Karenni resistance | Myanmar NOW (myanmar-now.org)