A military outpost located just meters away from Myanmar’s border with Thailand has seen heavy fighting over the past three days as it continues to come under attack by Karen National Union (KNU) forces.
The outpost, located near the village of Oo Ka Yit Hta in Karen (Kayin) State’s Myawaddy Township, was attacked on Sunday by troops from the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO), both under the command of the KNU.
Since then, Myanmar’s military has carried out multiple airstrikes targeting the KNU forces and allied groups active in the area, killing three and injuring 20, according to a KNDO source.
There were no casualties following the latest assault by two fighters jets on Monday evening, the KNDO source said.
Heavy shelling has also been reported in and around Oo Ka Yit Hta, forcing residents to flee amid blasts that shook the ground every few seconds.
“Everywhere there are babies crying because of the incredibly loud sound of the exploding shells. A lot of families were separated, as everyone just scattered,” said one resident.
According to another source, many have headed towards the Moei River, which separates Myanmar and Thailand. Thai border authorities have been seen on the other side of the river, watching to make sure that none of the displaced villagers cross into Thai territory, the source said.
Thai troops based on the border are also reportedly preparing for a further deterioration of the situation, according to military sources.
Meanwhile, there have been reports that Myanmar’s military is in the process of sending ground troops to the area across the border from Thailand. Myanmar Now has been unable to confirm this information.
The Oo Ka Yit Hta outpost is situated on the strategically important road to the town of Waw Lay, which is used by the military to transport supplies and reinforcements into the area.
KNU forces and their allies have seized control of a number of key outposts in Karen State in recent months, including one in Maw Khee in March and another in Thay Baw Boe in May.
On June 13, an attack on a police station in Waw Lay resulted in the death of several police officers and the release of a number of captured resistance fighters.
Despite being a signatory to the 2015 Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, the KNU has openly declared its opposition to the regime that seized power in a coup in February of last year.
KNU forces have also been active in fighting junta troops in Mon State and Bago Region.
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