Border Guard and DKBA Kloh Htoo Lah troops clash in February
On February 19th 2012, three trucks carrying Border Guard Battalion #1015 soldiers came to the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) Kloh Htoo Lah's base in M--- village and stole a cache of weapons.
During the return to their headquarters in Myaing Gyi Ngu town, two of the Border Guard trucks travelled together along one road and the third truck travelled on a different road. The truck travelling alone reached a junction where the road from Pa'an, the road constructed under the command of U Thuzana, and the road to the Salween riverbank at Mae Th'Waw meet. At that point, DKBA soldiers who were waiting near Myaing Gyi Ngu, attacked the truck with rocket-propelled grenades and other small arms in retaliation for the theft of the weapons.
Several villagers lived near to this junction, where they had built houses, and some had set up small shops. One unmarried woman, approximately 17 or 18 years of age, and one man were injured in the attack. Another woman, about 24 years of age, was killed during the skirmish. She was married with two kids and her husband was working in Bangkok at the time of the incident. The man injured in the attack received medical treatment at Pa'an Hospital. According to a member of a local media organisation who spoke to DKBA soldiers in the area, the man who was injured is not only a villager, but is also a member of the Border Guard.
Movement restrictions after the attack
The Burma government sought to prevent further conflict between the DKBA and the Border Guard by prohibiting armed groups in possession of weapons from coming within three miles of Myaing Gyi Ngu town. If any group wishes to travel there, they must adhere to this prohibition and refrain from carrying weapons. For approximately one week at the end of February 2012, the Border Guard prevented DKBA troops from travelling to Myaing Gyi Ngu and the DKBA also prevented the Border Guard from coming within areas under their control, closer to the Moei River on the Thailand-Burma border. Myaing Gyi Ngu is where the DKBA's headquarters were formerly located, and some DKBA soldiers wished to go back and regain control of the area.
Impacts on villagers
As a consequence of the attack on February 19th 2012, villagers living close to the Border Guard Battalion #1015 and DKBA Kloh Htoo Lah camps, including those from the villages of H---, N---, S---, A---, Y--- and T---, moved away from their homes, as they were afraid of being injured during fighting between the two groups. Villagers were also reported to be concerned that the situation could deteriorate if the ceasefire agreed on January 12th 2012 between the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Tatmadaw is broken.
Current Situation in Myaing Gyi Ngu
As of June 6th 2012, a local community member described the Border Guard and DKBA as no longer active in Myaing Gyi Ngu town or in villages nearby, with the result that villagers were not being ordered to perform forced labour and there had been a reduction in looting of livestock and other belongings. All villagers who fled the fighting between the Border Guard and DKBA have now returned to their villages. The two villagers who were injured by the fighting have recovered and are living in their village now. The community member described increased freedom of movement for villagers to travel and earn their livelihoods.