KNU: ‘The more the military treats the people as enemies, the more enemies they will have’
Battles began in the town of Lay Kay Kaw in Karen State’s Myawaddy Township in mid-December after the military raided the area and arrested some 30 people—including an MP from the ousted National League for Democracy party—who were sheltering there to flee junta arrests in urban areas following the February 1 military coup.
The military has been carrying out offensives in Lay Kay Kaw and the surrounding areas along the Thai-Myanmar border—territory controlled by the ethnic armed organisation the Karen National Union (KNU)—using heavy weapons and carrying out airstrikes. At least two civilians were killed by the junta’s shelling and several thousand locals living in Lay Kay Kaw and nearby villages were forced to flee. As many as 4,000 crossed the Moei River to Thailand, seeking refuge.