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DKBA, BGF clash in Karen State

Troops from the DKBA on patrol in Kawkareik Township, Karen State. (Photo: DVB)

A clash broke out between renegade forces of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and a Border Guard Force (BGF) in Karen State’s Kawkareik Township on Wednesday.

DKBA troops led by Captain Narmakyar, under command of Colonel Saw San Aung, allegedly attacked BGF 1017, a former DKBA battalion that became a militia under the Burmese army in 2010, at 5am on Wednesday in the village of Tandanku. The clash reportedly lasted 30 minutes.

Five residents, including a pregnant woman and an eighth-grade school student, were injured when artillery shells landed and exploded in the village, said Lance Corporal Pye Phyo Kyaw of the Kawkareik police.

“We learned there was a clash involving Captain Narmakyar’s troops and five civilians were injured. Three of them are reportedly seeking medical treatment in Mae Sot and two were being cared for by the government troops,” said the officer, adding that the eighth grader with serious injuries had been hospitalised in the Thai border town.

The civilians were assumed injured by 40mm artillery shells, but it was not clear which side called in the strike on the village.

Meanwhile, Saw San Aung’s DKBA denied involvement in the fight on 4 August.

“Apparently it wasn’t our troops. I checked with Captain Narmakyar and he also denied involvement — we can’t confirm who it was as yet,” said the group’s spokesperson Captain Ye Htet.

Saw San Aung’s DKBA broke away from the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, formerly the DKBA Brigade 5, which refused transformation into a BGF in 2010 along with the rest of the armed group.