Fighting between junta troops and one of Myanmar’s most powerful ethnic armies continued Tuesday morning after the Karen National Liberation Army and local People’s Defense Forces burned down a local administrative office in Kayin state, residents told RFA.
Combined anti-junta forces raided the office in Payathonzu town near the Thai border on Monday night. They set fire to buildings that house military intelligence offices, along with general administration, immigration and land registry departments.
“They started at 10 p.m. at night. Some offices were torched,” said a local who wished to remain anonymous. “Joint forces attacked and both sides are still fighting. The casualties are still not known, but the fighting intensified this morning. Almost all the offices were destroyed. The fighting mainly erupted because of anti-regime civil disobedience movement issues.”
Some residents fled the town Tuesday as fighting continued, the local said.
Neither side has released a statement about any casualties and RFA has not been able to independently confirm whether anyone was killed.
A local charity said two men were injured on Monday night.
The Karen National Liberation Army has refused to hold talks with the junta, saying there can be no negotiations unless they include the National Unity Government, ousted by the military nearly two years ago.
The KNLA and its political wing the Karen National Union have also said they oppose the junta’s plan to carry out a census and hold national elections this year.
Fighting between the two sides has forced more than 97,000 people to flee their homes in Kayin State, according to data compiled between Feb. 1, 2021, and Jan. 20, 2023, by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.