Bomb explosion in Lashio Myoma Market; Fighting between the KNU and the military council in Karen State

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – July 15 Scenes

MoeMaKa, July 16, 2023

Bomb explosion in Lashio Myoma Market; Fighting between the KNU and the military council in Karen State

On the morning of July 15th, a bomb exploded from a motorcycle parked in front of Zwe Htet Jewelry Shop in Lashio Myoma Market, injuring several employees of the shop, and one of the injured died at night. A total of 12 people were injured, 2 of whom were reported as seriously injured. Lashio Myoma Market is a big market in the downtown area of Lashio. The explosion occurred shortly after the market opened at 7:00 a.m., while gold shop employees arriving by ferry were trying to move a motorcycle parked in front of the gold shop, the motorcycle exploded, according to news reports.

Last Thingyan in Lashio, a car bomb exploded near a parking lot, killing about 4 people. Whenever such explosions occur, it doesn’t usually reveal which organization is the responsible one. The military council is also unable to investigate these explosions, and no one knows whether groups such as the militia, which are associated with the military council, are sometimes involved. In cities like Lashio, Kyaukme, and Hsipaw, the military council, some ethnic armed groups, and militia groups that are allies of the military council often operate, and so it is difficult to predict which group is carrying out these explosions.

In a situation where the aim of the explosions by unknown armed group is not exactly known, it may be that the intention is to instill fear among the public. It can generally be concluded that it is a terrorist attack that does not have a specific target, who it aims at, or what organization it aims at.

Among today’s news events of the armed conflict, there was fierce fighting between the joint forces of the KNU and PDF, and the military council troops in the Kale-Tagundaing Village Tract in Kyainseikgyi Township, Karen State, and its bordering area, Chaung Hna Hkwa Village Tract of Kyaikmaraw Township, Mon State.

These areas are the bordering areas of Mon State and Karen State, and as an ethnic armed group, these are the KNU dominant areas. There are villages where the majority of Karen people live, as well as villages where the majority of Mon people live. As KNU’s brigade, these are the areas where KNU Brigade 6 is active.

Some areas in Mon State have been controlled by the KNU group for ages, while some areas are controlled by the New Mon State Party. For example, places like Ye Township, Thanbyuzayat Township, and Payathonzu region. According to the government administration, there are areas in Tanintharyi where the Mon people live, and the activities of KNU and the New Mon Party overlap. These are Ye Township and 4 adjacent areas in Tanintharyi Division.

When KNU cooperated with the PDF forces in some areas where the Mon people have settled, the New Mon State Party, which has no battle engaged with the military council and has continued to accept the NCA, is concerned. In the past few months, in areas such as Kanni Village near Kyondoe, where most of the Mon people live in Karen State, some Karen armed columns stormed the administration offices of the military council, and burned some of the houses of the military council supporters, raising concerns in the Mon community.

As for the New Mon State Party, there are concerns about the intensification of armed conflicts in some regions of Mon State, Karen State, and Tanintharyi Region, where the Mon people live, and it can be assumed that the party’s policy is to avoid the reoccurrence of armed conflicts in Mon State.