Armed clashes occurred between the joint forces of Lion Battalion Command Special Force led by its commander Saw Eh Say Wah and the junta’s No. 545 Battalion at the villages in Kyondoe Town of Kawkareik Township, Kayin State from 22 to 26 January.
The New Mon State Party in Thaton district on 29 January made a report that during the battle, the joint commando forces set fire village administration office and the houses of pro-military local militia, burning down 21 houses in Kamni village and 18 houses in Nyaung Yeik village.
Sources said that heavy gunfire of military destroyed 3 houses in Kamni village, 1 house in Nyaungyeik village and 7 houses in Thayettaw village.
The interview with spokesperson of Lion Battalion Commando ‘Southern Dragon’ highlights the battle and blaze of the houses.
TLT: Why did the Lion Battalion Commando joint forces conduct that mission in Kamni village?
LBC spokesperson: We carried out that mission because the troops of 545 and 546 military battalions infiltrated into our controlled area.
TLT: What was the situation of Kamni village when your joint forces arrived there?
LBC: As soon as their columns invaded these areas, we managed our joint forces and allied groups to block the junta troops. We took position on their route. When we arrived in Kamni village, the military withdrew their forces. We immediately took their position. Then, they launched heavy gunfire into the village. The clashes occurred from 20 to 26 January.
TLT: Why did the military troops took positions in Kamni village?
LBC: Their forces in Three Pagoda Pass were under the attacks of our urban resistance forces. We assumed their reinforcement units will go through Kyainseikkyi to Three Pagoda Pass. Earlier, we frequently penetrated into their areas. Our offensive attacks were started from Kawkareik Township. They have suffered some losses from our attacks. That is why, they would try for counterattacks. But we must stop their troops not to reach our allied forces in Three Pagoda Pass and to retain our stronghold. The junta is worrying about the urban battles of PDF and EAO forces which have recently increased their missions. People understand our resistance forces although they suffered some losses.
TLT: What is your remark on the announcement of New Mon State Party regarding the incidents in Kamni village?
LBC: We never committed such offences now or in the future. Our armed strugle is to protect people. We listen to the public voice and try to fulfill their expectation. So, they should not make such groundless accusation. If this party really consider the interest of people, they must listen to public voice, and work for the people. However, they made this report that favours the junta. So, we will take a decisive action against this report.
TLT: Could you explain the blaze of administration office and houses of pro-junta militia?
LBC: The junta troops used heavy weapons such as howitzers which burn the targets in explosion. If it hit flammable materials, the massive blaze will sweep through a large area. We have evidence that their weapons have caused the blaze.
The report also accused us of not allowing the locals to extinguish fire. Actually, all the civilians have fled from the village during the heavy artillery attacks. It is impossible for them to put fire out. We told people that fire will spread widely if it was not prevented. We did not set fire residential houses and will never do it in the future.
TLT: How did the locals respond to Lion Battalion Commando at the Kamni village?
LBC: People have different feelings and perspectives. Some support our forces, while some others may dislike us. Even in some ethnic organizations such as DKBA, BGF and KNU, some may like us, and some may not. So, we cannot imagine the attitude of individuals. However, we have won supports from majority of people. They have high expectation. They have no worry to lose their property if the junta troops suffer losses. They want to see decisive actions against the military.
TLT: What is the causality toll of junta troop in the battles near Kamni village?
LBC: Their force had just around 150 members in that battle which took place from 20 to 26 January. We have the record. More than 90 soldiers were killed in the fights. Over 50 soldiers were injured. They dropped the bodies into the creek, and that we had to taken them out of the water.
TLT: What do you want to say to the NUG about the intensifying armed clashes?
LBC: Lion Battalion Commando special force is carrying out the most frequent attacks on junta troops. However, we have not received any fund from NUG. We have no sufficient fund. The regime is controlling and blocking bank accounts and the flows of funding from Click To Donate. They are taking extensive measures against us. Myanmar people abroad are the main funders of Spring Revolution. The junta has posed strict measures against overseas financial flow and restricted stay permits in foreign countries. Then, we have some difficulties to collect funds. I want to say NUG that we have not received any assistance for the military activities. Whether we receive any support or not, we will decisively continue our missions. As far as people are supporting us, we will do our best. However, we need assistance for our missions.
TLT: What is your concluding remark on this Spring Revolution?
LBC: We are fighting not just for the freedom of Karen people, or Mon people, but for the freedom of all the nationals in Myanmar to liberate from the military dictatorship and to prevail human rights and justice. So, we must fight across the country. We conduct military training courses at all level of our forces to avoid public suffering as much as possible. The trainings include military code of ethics. People should have knowledge about the armed conflicts which they would surely face. For example, they should be ready for storing medicines and food items, in addition to building underground bankers.