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Oct 26, 2007 (DVB), Fights between the Burmese government army and ethnic rebels have been on the increase in Karen and Karenni states as the government tries to clear land for a road-building project.
Karen National Union spokesperson Saw Hla Ngway told DVB that fights have been reported between Burmese troops, backed by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Association, and the Karen National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the KNU.
The KNLA's Battalion 18 under Brigade 6 has clashed with the government army as it advances into Karen rebel territory to clear land for a major road-building project to take place between Thailand and Burma.
Saw Hla Ngway said that another skirmish took place in the Ywartanshae area on Tuesday between KNU troops and about 400 soldiers from DKBA Battalions 906 and 909, led by Major Chit Thu and Major Nakhanmwe. The number of the casualties is still unknown.
"The fights are going to continue as the government is trying to clear the land by supplying the DKBA with all the weapons and facilities they need," Saw Hla Ngway said.
Seven other clashes have been reported from Karenni state involving insurgent group the Karenni National Progressive Party. The group’s secretary (2) Khoo Oo Rah claims the fights resulted in one KNPP death, while six from the SPDC side were killed or injured.
Reporting by Saw Kanyaw