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A splinter faction of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) remains locked in a clash with a Border Guard Force (BGF) militia in Karen State’s Kawkareit Township as of Thursday, 8 October.
The off-shoot group, known as ‘Commander Deaf’s faction’, is led by led by Maj. Saw San Aung.
The major told DVB that hostilities began in the morning along the ridge of the Taungme hill, near Kaunghmu and Pyabingon villages, when BGF troops arrived in the area and launched an attack on the rebels.
“Gunfire broke out around 10am and briefly stopped at 2pm – then it resumed in the surrounding woods known as Keh Waw after the Burmese army sent troops to reinforce the BGF,” said Saw San Sung.
He added that the fighting was continuing as of Thursday evening, and that no causalities had been reported.
The Karen BGF spokesperson Maj. Naing Maung Zaw confirmed the clash occurred, but provided no further details.
Saw San Aung urged the government to allow his group to take part in the ongoing peace process to bring an end to the hostilities.
“We would like the government to officially invite us to the peace process. They treat us like we have absolutely no relevance in the peace process. Other Karen group leaders have told us to stand down while there is no guarantee whether we can be a part of the ceasefire deal, but what if the government starts attacking us after signing the ceasefire with other groups?” said Saw San Aung.
In a separate incident on Tuesday, 6 October, three unknown armed men were killed in a gunfight with the BGF at a road checkpoint on the old Myawaddy-Kawkareit road.
BGF units are under the command of Burmese government forces.
The skirmish continues despite the DKBA leadership announcing its’ intention to accede to a peace accord with Naypyidaw, to be signed on 15 October.
Read more about the DKBA here.
Read more about the ongoing peace process here.