Children shot in Karen crossfire

Two children have been hospitalised in eastern Burma with bullet wounds sustained whilst fleeing fighting in Karen state.

One of the two, a 12-year-old boy, was shot twice in the arm as he attempted to escape ongoing clashes between Burmese troops and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). The other boy, 17, was hit in the thigh.

A Karen man told DVB that he had driven the two from Chaungsone in the Three Pagodas Pass district to a hospital in Payathonzu, close to the Thai border, where they remain.

Numbers of aid workers are reportedly on the Thai side of the border waiting for permission from Burmese authorities to visit the children, although this could not be independently verified.

Fighting has intensified over the past two weeks along the volatile border region close to Thailand, where the DKBA is joined by a loose coalition of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF). Both armies support the DKBA’s decision not to become a Border Guard Force (BGF), which would force it to relinquish control over troops to the Burmese junta.

A firefight on Monday between KNLA Brigade 6 soldiers and a Burmese army battalion left thee Burmese troops injured, one of whom reportedly died later that evening.

The following morning, DKBA troops carried out an ambush on a Burmese army column near to the border town of Myawaddy, where fighting first began on 8 November last year.

DVB has also learnt that the Burmese army has been firing artillery into Manerplaw, the former headquarters of the KNLA which fell in 1995. Numbers of poorly aimed artillery shells have landed on Thai soil in the past week.

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