Around 40 regime soldiers have reportedly been killed during fierce clashes by the Karenni People’s Defense Force (PDF), formed by civilian resistance fighters, and the Karenni Army in Kayah State on Sunday.
A clash broke out in Moe Bye on the Shan-Kayah state border on Sunday morning with the regime forces indiscriminately firing artillery shells at civilian houses, injuring two civilians and destroying homes, according to a member of the Karenni PDF.
Following a prolonged clash, the resistance fighters and Karenni Army seized Moe Bye police station at around noon. At least 15 regime troops were killed and four detained, according to the Kantarawaddy Times. The police station was burned down.
A 27-year-old civilian resistance fighter was killed and around five PDF members were injured in Moe Bye.
“After seeing their brutality towards civilians, we decided to fight back weapons we collected,” a resident said.
“Young people say that instead of being arrested and killed for protesting, they will revolt with what they find and die as martyrs.”
Prolonged clashes were also reported in Demoso Township in the state on Sunday with around 24 soldiers killed on the Loikaw-Demoso highway.
The fighting continued into the evening, the Kantarawaddy Times reported. Loikaw residents blocked Demoso’s roads to hinder junta access. Armored vehicles were reported heading to the town on Sunday evening.
Kayah State is the latest state to see armed resistance to the military regime in response to junta violence since the February coup. Since late March, civilian resistance fighters in Chin State and Sagaing, Magwe, and Mandalay regions have taken up any weapons — from air guns to traditional firearms and homemade bombs — to fight the regime.