Fighting intensified in Mekanel Village in Myawaddy Township; Aftermath of Pazigyi Village’s incident

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – April 20 Scenes

MoeMaKa, April 21 2023

Fighting intensified in Mekanel Village in Myawaddy Township; Aftermath of Pazigyi Village’s incident

In recent days, fierce fighting broke out between KNLA joint forces and the Military Council/Border Guard Force (BGF) near Mekanel Village in Myawaddy Township, Karen State. It is reported in the news that fighting is still going on these days in the nearby hills, which are not residential villages.

It is generally known that the Cobra Column, the Venom Column, and other Kawthoolei Army battalions are included on the KNLA side, and on the military council side, they jointly fight with the Karen Border Guard Force. Thousands of refugees are fleeing the war. With the help of the BGFs expertise in the area, the military council is attacking the KNLA joint forces where they are stationed with heavy weapons and air strikes.

In Karen State, there have been discussions and negotiations between the Karen armed forces, especially between the Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) and the KNU/KNLA forces, for the past few years. After the recent incidents where the BGF transferred 3 PDF members who were sent back from Thai police and immigration at the border controlled by the BGF, the PDF and battalions under the Kawthoolei Army started to attack the camps of the BGF at Shwe Koke Ko. Since then, battles have gone on fiercely. Although there have been a few attacks between the BGF and the KNU/KNLA or other Karen armed groups in the past few years, they have not been as intense as the recent clashes.

Now, after the attacks on the camps around the new town of Shwe Koke Ko, the Karen Border Guard Force has joined forces with the military council to launch the offensive again. In Karen State, fighting is going on in the south, north, and west of Myawaddy, and some Karen armed organizations have issued a warning not to travel on the Asian Road, the main border trade route, from the day before Thingyan to the 21st of April.

Another piece of news for today is the news that the aftermath of the airstrike on Pazigyi village on April 11, which killed more than a hundred people, is still going on. It has been almost 10 days since the aerial bombardment and airstrikes, with at least 170 to at most 200 casualties, and the people of the village have not dared to stay in their homes and are still fleeing to nearby villages. The military council is also launching offensive marches to clear the area on the ground as well as air attacks. More than 5,000 people from nearby villages are reported to have fled their homes.

Regarding the Pazigyi incident, local defense forces and the people’s administration under the NUG are trying to find out how exactly the military council got the information. The NUG Defense Minister said in an interview that the main suspect and culprit in the Pazigyi incident was the informant U Varsava, who led the formation of the Pyu Saw Htee militia, known as the 550-Sayadaw of Hmawtaw Village.

Based on these facts, it is reported that some villagers of Pazigyi Village and the village monk are being investigated to see if they are in contact with the 550-Sayadaw. It is true that the revolutionary forces benefited politically because the Pazigyi airstrike incident may have increased some international pressure on the military council, but we should learn lessons and prepare to find a way to prevent such an incident from happening again.