One person was killed and eight others, including children, were injured during an attack at the 71st anniversary of Karenni State Day in Loikaw on Jan. 15. “Seven children and two female police officers were injured. One civilian was killed instantly,” a Loikaw resident said. Regime media accused the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and People’s Defense Force (PDF) of the attack. The KNPP denied the accusation, stating that “it has never conducted a single attack that targeted the public.”
Khu Daniel, the KNPP Secretary, blamed the junta for hosting the event. “We don’t conduct indiscriminate attacks without some kind of approval from our team commanders. However, we have many other organizations [in Karenni State]. There are the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force and the PDF. As for the KNPP, there were no instructions from above to commit that attack,” he said. The KNPP has not been involved in Karenni State Day celebrations in recent years. The director of the Karenni Human Rights Group, Banyar, claimed that the junta forced the public to attend this year’s event ” He called it a “violation of human rights” and denounced the attack as “a war crime in violation of the Geneva Conventions.” No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.