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DKBA renegades ambush govt troops in Karen State

File photo of some DKBA renegade soldiers. (Photo: Francis Wade / DVB)

A 30-minute armed clash broke out on Saturday in Mae Tha Wor, Karen State, between Burmese government forces and a splinter group of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).

A firefight occurred again the following morning. No casualties have been reported.

The DKBA renegade faction, commanded by Col Phu Kalat, allegedly encroached on a site near the Kyone Htaw waterfall in Myine Gyi Ngu where the Burmese army’s Infantry Battalion 203 is stationed. Gunfire ensued.

Speaking to DVB on condition of anonymity, a ranking major in the local Border Guard Force (BGF), which fights in coalition with the Burmese army, said, “The DKBA renegades employed guerrilla tactics.”

However, Maj. Saw Thet Naing Oo, a spokesperson for the DKBA splinter group, said that they sought only to reclaim a military post that was previously under their control.

“Mae Tha Wor was originally under DKBA control,” he said. “But we retreated when the Tatmadaw [Burmese armed forces] and BGF launched offensives in 2015-16. We are now attacking them to reclaim our post.”

DVB reported last week that thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the nearby Myine Gyi Ngu camp are living with severe food shortages due to the conflict.

Speaking  to DVB yesterday, Saw Swe Tun, the administrator at the camp, said, “We are all very concerned about going back to our villages while these hostilities keep breaking out. It is simply not possible for us to return home yet.”