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Two civilians were injured on Sunday when a passenger bus was hit by shrapnel from an explosive device in Myaing Gyi Ngu Village near the Karen State capital of Hpa-an.
Local police officers said the device exploded as part of an ambush by the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) on the Burmese army’s 22nd Infantry Division, which was reinforcing troops to Myaing Gyi Ngu. The incident took place near Thamanya Hill, a main DKBA stronghold, about 40km southeast of Hpa-an.
“The incident occurred in Hpa-an’s Wekayin Village on 28 September. There were eight people travelling in the bus when a shell landed nearby, and two male passengers were injured by shrapnel,” said a local police officer, adding that the victims were being treated at hospitals in Hpa-an and Kawkareik.
Saw Soe Myint, the DKBA’s liaison officer in Myawaddy, confirmed that fighting had taken place in Myaing Gyi Ngu, but denied that the DKBA was responsible for the incident in which the passenger bus was hit.
“There have been reports claiming the DKBA was behind the ambush that resulted in civilian injuries, but our investigation has found that the attackers were not wearing DKBA uniforms. Nevertheless, we are sad to hear about the incident,” he said.
On 26 September, a fire-fight broke out in Kyaikmayaw, Mon State, between DKBA and Burmese government forces, leaving one soldier reportedly injured. Saw Soe Myint said the Karen militia’s leadership has been negotiating with Burmese military officers to prevent further clashes from breaking out.
Despite the fact that a ceasefire between the DKBA and Burma’s government forces was signed in 2011, occasional skirmishes have erupted between the two armies.
Tensions were exacerbated on 19 September, when a drunken DKBA captain was gunned down by Burmese security forces in Myawaddy.
The DKBA is a group of primarily Buddhist soldiers that broke away from the Karen National Liberation Army in 1994.