Junta troops killed, beat and robbed civilians as the coup regime suffered heavy losses during fighting against the armed wing of the Karen National Union (KNU) last month, the rebel group has said in a statement.
There were 166 deaths and 101 injuries on the junta’s side during 217 clashes in KNU territory, the group said last week.
A KNU central officer said that there were very few casualties on his side. “We employed guerilla techniques,” he told Myanmar Now. “If the enemy is trespassing our territory, there is definitely going to be some resistance.”
Most of the fighting last month took place in territory controlled by the KNU’s Brigade 5.
Junta troops also used civilians as porters. Tun Lin Aung, the deputy commander of the 704th Light Infantry Battalion (LIB), forced locals from Kaw Thay Der village, Taungu district, to transport military equipment to the village of Klee Soe Kee, the KNU said.
The 406th LIB, along with soldiers from the 1014th Battalion of the Border Guard Force (BGF), detained two people, ransacked houses, and looted property in Htee Pado village, Thahton district on August 11, the group added.
That battalion is led by Major Kyaw Tun Nyein with the help of Corporal Kyein Lun. The soldiers robbed families of their mobile phones, torches, and rice. They also took away a woman named Bell Lay and her father, the group said.
An officer from the KNU’s Brigade 1 said that the military council used women as human shields in a battle in the brigade’s territory during the second week of August.
“They took the women from Myit Kyoe to be used as hostages in collaboration with the BGF while going to Kyoe Waing village from Myit Kyoe,” he said. “They let them go when they arrived at Kyoe Wine and then took the women from Kyoe Waing when they went to Pyin Ma Pin Seik village.”
The military took the women hostages to avoid being ambushed, he suggested.
Junta troops from the 118th LIB, under Brigade 44, entered the village of Moe Kaung on August 14 and then shot and killed two civilians named Saw El Thu and Saw El Do. They also detained two civilians named Saw Thein Than and Saw Chan Thar.
On August 26 soldiers from the 32nd, 283rd, and 358th Infantry Battalions, along with BGF troops from the 1023rd Battalion, stole 40 chickens, a rice cooker, spoons and mugs from the house of a woman named Naw Lay Kay in Taku Khee village, Mon State.
Military council soldiers have also planted landmines in territory controlled by the KNU’s Brigade 5, where the junta has faced the heaviest losses, the group said. They set mines in public places, workplaces and on roads. One person was seriously injured by one of the mines, it added.
The 407th, 408th, 341st and 401st LIBs, along with the 19th Infantry Battalion and BGF troops, fired a total of around 120 shells in the same area last month. The shellings targeted civilians’ villages, gardens and farms, destroying six houses, killing one person and injuring another.
Junta soldiers also beat three civilians in the area, the KNU said.
The military council has sent air surveillance teams to Hpapun region five times. Villages in the area fear this means there may be more airstrikes like those that displaced thousands in March.
The junta has not commented on last month’s fighting and could not be reached for comment.
Another KNU officer, who asked not to be named, said that the group had wanted to resolve matters diplomatically, but had been forced into defending itself as the junta launched attacks in the wake of the February 1 coup, which the KNU vocally opposed.
“We have to carry out actions depending on the conditions,” he said.
Source: Myanmar Now