Residents of a nearby Thai village described gunfire from the scene before dawn. Karen National Union forces seized military sites between 5 and 6 a.m. (between 0:30 and 1:30 CET), a Karen National Union official told Reuters, which according to the Karen National Federation finds out how many combat casualties there are.
According to a spokesman for the group, clashes have occurred in other places, but he did not provide details. The Burmese military has yet to comment on the situation.
The army came to power in Burma on February 1 after a coup when the new parliament was due to convene. The National League for Democracy, led by Suu Kyi, won the majority. The military leadership described the election results as fraudulent and arrested Suu Kyi and a number of her party colleagues during the coup. Then protests erupted in the country.
According to the Burmese Association for the Aid of Political Prisoners (AAPP), more than 750 people have died in the demonstrations and around 3,500 people are still being held by the regime.
Karen is the largest in Burma out of 17 national minorities, and represents about seven percent of Burma’s population. According to Reuters, this is not the first time that the KNU has clashed with the military since the February coup. The Karen National Union had earlier pledged to fight to topple the February 1 political coup. According to the Karen groups, 24,000 people were forced to leave their homes due to the violence and air strikes by the Burmese military while hiding in the woods.
At a special summit over the weekend of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Burma agreed to the demand to end violence against civilians. However, according to Burmese media, at least one man was shot dead in Mandalay on Monday, and the circumstances of the shooting are unknown.
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