More than 18,000 residents flee township in Myanmar’s Bago region

Residents of 61 villages have left their homes due to junta airstrikes, according to the KNU.

The number of people fleeing fighting between junta forces and the Karen National Union (KNU) in Bago region’s Mone township is nearing 20,000, according to the KNU.

The group’s Brigade 3 controls part of the township in Nyaunglebin district.

Some 18,669 locals from 3,236 households in 61 villages left their homes after junta airstrikes, according to a KNU statement, released Tuesday.

A woman, who declined to be named for safety reasons, said she wanted to return to her home, which she left almost four months ago.

“I had to flee in the last week of May, and was living in neighboring villages,” she said.

“The fighting erupted again where I had taken shelter and I ran into the forest. I want to go back to my home and I want the military dictatorship to end as soon as possible.”

The woman said no one dared to stay in the village after the junta’s airstrikes.

RFA’s calls to Bago region's State Administration Council spokesman Saw Khin Maung Myint went unanswered on Wednesday.

Kayin (Karen) State lies directly to the east of Bago region, with the KNU controlling parts of both areas, leading to fighting spilling over the border as junta forces try to regain control.

Kayin has seen the highest number of battles between junta forces and pro-democracy groups since the Feb. 2021 coup and July this year, according to an Institute of Strategy and Policy (ISP-Myanmar) report on August 29. It said junta forces and the affiliated Border Guard Force fought 3,993 battles against the KNU, Karen National Liberation Army and People’s Defense Forces.

Nearly 90,000 residents of Kayin State have become Internally Displaced Persons since the coup, according to a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report on September 5.