The Myanmar military conducted airstrikes in clashes this week with the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the armed wing of the Karen National Union (KNU), in Kawkareik Township, Kayin State, according to local sources.
Fighting broke out between the KNLA and the Myanmar military in the KNU’s Brigade 6 area near the old town of Kawkareik and Migathein village on January 10. A KNLA official said two Myanmar military helicopters had bombarded the area during the fighting.
“The Myanmar military launched attacks against the KNLA using two helicopters. The attack was carried out in response to the heavy casualties during the main offensive,” the official added.
A local resident who spoke on condition of anonymity said artillery shells fired by the Myanmar military fell on Migathein village, destroying at least 10 houses. Many residents of Mingathein village have fled to safer locations near the Thaungyin (Moei) River on the Myanmar-Thailand border.
“The Myanmar military’s helicopters began firing shortly after the fighting. We also heard the sound of artillery firing. Many homes were hit by the artillery shells and were reduced to ashes,” the resident said.
The Myanmar military has not yet commented on the attack. Fighting erupted between the KNLA and Myanmar military in Kawkareik Township on January 6, injuring 11 locals and killing an elderly woman.
As a result of the fighting, more than 2,000 people have been displaced in Kawkareik Township, and relief supplies are needed, including food and medicine, according to relief groups.