Two die after gunman strikes in Karen state

A Burmese soldier and a motorbike taxi driver were killed after an unknown gunman opened fire on them yesterday close to the Karen state border town of Myawaddy.

The incident happened on a mountain path between Myawaddy and Kawkareik. A Myawaddy local said the shooting “It looked more like an assassination than a gunfight.

“It not known who the gunman was – he wrapped himself in a longyi, walked up the road between two checkpoints and opened fire on [them]. He opened fire as the soldier was being distracted by a motorbike passing through the checkpoint.”

Tensions are high in Karen state following the deployment of four battalions to a region controlled by a renegade group of one-time Border Guard Force troops. Around 600 extra troops are believed to have been sent to territory belonging to unit, who have now defected to the opposition Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).

In addition to the shooting, four DKBA soldiers are believed to have been killed outside of Kawkareik yesterday after coming under attack from Burmese troops.

The deployment of additional battalions marks a further escalation of hostilities in Burma’s border regions, where several groups have refused to transform into government-controlled Border Guard Forces.

Fighting has raged in Kachin state over the past fortnight, while Burmese troops have also launched assaults on the Shan State Army.

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