Karen state with more widespread fighting

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 27 Scenes
MoeMaKa, January 28 2023

Karen state with more widespread fighting

If you look at Karen State at the time of the military coup on February 1, 2021, you will see that the occasional fighting mostly occurred in the area of the 5th Brigade, called Mu Traw District according to the KNU’s territorial definition and Hpapun District according to the general territorial definition. It was in a situation where there was no battle or armed conflict in Kawkareik, Myawaddy, Kyainseikgyi, Payathonzu, Thaton, Bilin and all KNU territories in Tanintharyi Division.


A few months after the military coup, after protests in the city were cracked down by shooting, the battles to seize the base camp started in Mu Traw District since April and May 2021. However, there were no major long-term battles that occurred successively in that 5th Brigade area. KNU played a key role in assisting the NUG when PDF groups were established, providing military training, accepting people and organizations that could not live in the city, and providing protection. Therefore, the military council seems to see the KNU as an obstacle to remembering.


After that, because the KNU provided protection to the newly formed NUG government, helped it to settle in the KNU liberated areas, gave military training to the urban guerrillas operating in the city, and helped them get weapons, the military council entered and searched the new town of Lay Kay Kaw, which is the buffer zone between the KNU and the military council, and arrested some people, including members of parliament, at the end of 2021.


The fighting around Lay Kay Kaw and Wale that started near the end of 2021 is a battle that has been going on for months without ending easily. Along the Thai-Myanmar trade route, Kawkareik-Myawaddy Asia Road, there have been occasional clashes where highways have been blocked and vehicles have been burned.

Fighting continued along the road between Myawaddy and Kawkareik, and around Myawaddy. After the end of 2021, the battles took place around Thaton Township and in the Thein Za Yat Town of Kyaikto Township. Instead of the KNU and the military council fighting in the middle of 2022 in Karen State, it can be said that the armed conflict was between the military council and the combined forces of the separated DKBA group, the Kaw Thoo Lay Army of former KNDO general Bo Nerdah Mya, who was punished by the KNU for the deaths of numerous road workers and bridge builders in 2021, KNDO subordinate battalions, and PDF Forces. The battle to seize Kawkareik took place in 2022, and in this month, they attacked the military council battalion bases around Kyainseikgyi. In the year 2022, fierce fighting has also occurred in areas such as Kyaukgyi and Mone, Bago Division, which had been fiercely attacked and resisted in the past.


These days, there are fierce battles between the military council and the combined forces of the Kaw Thoo Lay Army, PDF forces, and DKBA forces, including the burning of houses around Kyondoe Township. While the policy and leadership of the KNU, which is the main armed group in the Karen State, are difficult to understand and while questions are being raised about the extent of cooperation between the NUG and the KIA, it is in a situation where fighting will be more widespread in the Karen State, where there are more than one or two armed forces.