Following the situation of Lay Kay Kaw Town in Karen State, multiple news outlets reported that much anticipated clashes broke out as the regime forces launched heavy artillery at Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)’s base around 11am today. Shootouts took place in several areas of the town, and Mizzima News reported that at least 30 heavy artillery shells were launched by regime soldiers into the town, causing residents of Lay Kay Kaw Town flee to nearby villages. In latest news development, six regime soldiers were killed, and eight have been arrested. Fighting paused for sometime but resumed around 6:15pm according to Khit Thit Media. While some news outlets reported that regime forces had requested KNLA to let them retreat, we have learned it the hard way that whatever regime soldiers said on ground should not be trusted.
When news outlets and netizens started sharing about fightings in Lay Kay Kaw Town today, Karen National Union (KNU) appealed the public to not post battle news on social media immediately. Such posts can compromise the protocols, locations and information of KNLA forces. Usually, regime forces send reinforcements or launch airstrikes on the forces on-ground, thus, to avoid such attacks, KNU requests the population at large to control the information security which is crucial in military operations. Backing KNU’s statement, National Unity Government (NUG)’s Ministry of Defense also warned netizens about the information security on its Facebook page. Moreover, netizens are also reminding each other to keep sharing the flight news from junta’s airbases such as Yangon, Meikhtila and Magway so that KNU and the people can stay ahead of the action. Never has a battle in Karen State effected people from the mainland this much before. Min Aung Hlaing has united the country in the most ironic way.
Last night, it was also reported that junta forces entered Palaw Township of Taninthayi Region, another territory KNLA Brigade 4 controls. The reason of the movement was to search defected soldiers but we all know that presence of regime soldiers is never good. On the other hand, the State Administration Council (SAC) met with Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC) in Mong La Township in Shan State today. The FPNCC is made up of ethnic armed organisations (EAO) mainly from northern part of the country. While launching attacks at KNU in southern part, political analysts see this meeting as a cunning move by the junta to further create divisions among EAOs.
Moving to central plain region, local defense forces continue to launch attack at the regime forces. Yesterday in Sagaing Region, resistance fighters denoted a military convoy with landmine around 5pm and damaged a military truck. They also detonated another military convoy in the morning, killing at least 20 junta soldiers according to DVB News. Again in Wat Lat Township of the same region, Shein Makar PDF detonated a military convoy with landmines this morning around 7am, killing four regime soldiers and injuring many, Khit Thit Media reported. Again in Mingin Township, local PDFs clashed against SAC forces around 8am this morning, resulting in the death of 10 regime soldiers and successful retreat of the PDFs. In typical terrorist fashion, regime forces torched villages beside the highway road after being attacked by the PDFs.
While the local resistance forces are getting stronger, regime’s arbitrary arrest of PDF-looking youths has continued. DVB News reported that more than 40 young people were arrested by regime forces in Bago City in the past few days for associating with PDFs. A source from Bago told DVB News that a young man from Bago was detained by junta soldiers last week, and traced the network from this young man. Since the arrest of person was not publicised, his connections were not informed, and consequently, resulting in arrest of more young people. The source also added that most of the detained youths were from students’ unions and warned other young people to stay vigilant, and skip town if necessary. Learning from this incident, this is not the first time we have seen that regime, as a top-down rigid institution, is extra cautious with its information security. Maybe it’s time we learn a thing or two from the enemy.
Elsewhere, regime soldiers continue with its terroristic behaviours and harassing the lives of civilians. In Myaing Township of Magway Region, six healthcare workers including a doctor and two dentists were beaten up by regime soldiers while they were playing guitar and singing at staff housing of Township Public Hospital on December 10. The healthcare workers are in service and not joining Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), yet it does not spare them from being attacked by the regime soldiers. The doctors informed Township General Administration Department, but Township Administrator advised them to not press charges against junta soldiers. This incident further proves the continuous impunity, and whether one supports the resistance or not, one’s life and safety is not guaranteed under the military regime.
In parallel with armed conflicts, non-violent protests of the people have not slowed down a bit. Protesters from Yinmabin, Sarlingyi, Kalay and Shwe Bo townships, and Latpadaung areas in Sagaing Region continued to march around and showed rejection towards the military. Residents of Hpakant Town in Kachin State also took to the street to show support for Kachin Independence Army (KIA), PDFs, NUG and NUCC. Youths in Mandalay City staged a guerrilla protest and Sangha Union recited prayers against the regime. Persistence and unity of our people have only grown stronger against Min Aung Hlaing’s Regime day by day.