About 3,570 armed conflicts occurred between the military council and Karen ethnic armed groups in Kawthoolei area of Karen National Union from January this year to 9 September. The KNU (Central) stated that thousands of junta soldiers were killed in these battles.
This interview with Padho Saw Tar Nee, spokesperson of KNU, is about ongoing situation of conflicts in KNU area, their view on military’s bombarbment on Mung Lai Hket IDP camp and the military council’s NCA anniversary.
Than Lwin Times: Many civilians were killed by the military council’s artillery strike on IDP camp in Laiza, Kachin state. What is the view of KNU on it?
Padho Saw Tar Nee: It is totally unacceptable atrocity of military council in killing displaced civilians including children. International community need to take decisive and effective action against the miliary. If international community hesitates to take action, the brutal military council will commit more severe crimes on civilians and children. Immediate action is needed Otherwise, the military’s atrocity will worsen.
Than Lwin Times: The military council is celebrating the anniversary of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, and has invited ethnic armed organizations for peace dialogue. Meanwhile, they are carrying out major offensives in ethnic areas. What is your view on this?
Padho Saw Tar Nee: The military council is seeking relief from crisis they are facing with celebrating NCA anniversary. There is no way of success for them. While they are talking about peace, they are brutally attacking people. They have no confidence in peace. Their rash and vicious actions will not lead to peace.
Than Lwin Times: About 3,570 battles took place between the miliary and the joint forces of KNLA and KNDO in Kawthoolei area in nine months. KNU reported that the death toll of military was 3,865. Why was the causality was high?
Padho Saw Tar Nee: The amount of their death toll in nine months is very high, and that they could not continue fighting soon. The fighting spirit of military’s ground forces is declining. They have to rely on air force in every battle. But, the aircraft cannot reach everywhere. It is undeniable that their death toll is increasing.
Than Lwin Times: What is ongoing situation of military council troops in KNU territories? They are said to be lost their territory. What is KNU’s remark on it?
Padho Saw Tar Nee: Their death toll comes along with the loss of land. Actually, they have lost their territory since the coup. They are fighting in many frontlines with insufficient forces. They have lost their motivation. They cannot change their duties, and they cannot recruit. As a consequence, their capability will surely decline, and will lose their territory in the future.
TLT: It seems that KNU territory becomes stable at present. Is it right? Has the military stopped their offensive? Or anything else?
Padho Saw Tar Nee: It is noticed that no conflicts are taking place in KNU territory. But it does not mean total ceasefire. Actually, they have no capacity to conduct offensives. They cannot mobilize their forces freely. They have to use fight for transportation of supplies. Battles broke out on the highways, not near their camps.
Their situation and capacity have declined, and we could expand the reach of our forces. I mean that our position is gradually increasing.