A fire-fight broke out in Kyaikmayaw, Mon State, on Friday between the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and Burmese government forces, leaving one soldier reportedly injured.
According to Saw Soe Myint, an officer at the DKBA’s Myawaddy liaison office, the clash occurred between DKBA troops and the Burmese army’s Military Operation Command 19 at around 2pm on 26 September after the Karen faction under Maj. Win Zaw Linn detained eight Burmese officers, including military intelligence and police personnel who had arrived to inspect conditions in the region.
“A couple of days ago, government forces came into our territory without going through diplomatic channels,” said Saw Soe Myint. “They came without authorisation so Maj. Win Zaw Oo detained them. On Friday, the Tatmadaw [Burmese army] sent in troops in to secure their release. The shoot-out took place after negotiations fell through.”
He said a government soldier was injured in the gunfight, and added that the eight detainees will be released when “a certain level of trust is established”.
“We already have instructions to release the eight detainees,” he said, “and they will be released just as soon as we are confident that they will not come back to attack us afterwards.”
The Burmese military was unavailable for comment.
On 19 September, DKBA’s captain Linn Naing was gunned down by security forces in Myawaddy, raising tensions in the area.
The DKBA signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 2011 and are currently involved in nationwide ceasefire talks.