Lay Kay Kaw Myo Thit, a “peace village” located in KNU 6 Brigade territory, south of Myawaddy city, was today seized by the junta. After three weeks of Burma Army ground and air assaults on the region, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) has decided to let go of the town, a KNLA battalion commander told DVB.
The KNLA said that it will make preparations with allied resistance groups to fight back and retake the area.
Over 14,000 civilians have fled for safety since the Burmese military began shelling Lay Kay Kaw, previously a refuge for dissidents and the displaced, on Dec. 15. On Christmas Eve, jets began launching aerial attacks on the area.
Over 5,000 people are said to currently be inhabiting makeshift camps on the Thai side of the border, and those that have returned describe how homes have been comprehensively looted of food and valuables.
Fighting between Burma Army troops and the KNLA is continuing every day to the south of Myawaddy. Recently, a Commander from the KNU’s Brigade 1 stated on his Facebook page that the junta had said it wished to discuss a ceasefire in Kayin state.