Recent fierce fighting between Myanmar’s army and resistance fighters has killed at least 26 civilians, including six children, in an area east of the capital, according to reports Wednesday by a resident, a rights group and a medical assistance group.
The fighting took place in Shan State’s Pekon township, a hotly contested area in the armed struggle that arose after February 2021 when the army seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The takeover prompted widespread public protests, whose violent suppression by the security forces triggered an armed resistance that now spans much of the country.
The recent fighting has focused on Mobye, a conglomeration of villages covering about 175 square kilometers (about 70 square miles) located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of the capital, Naypyitaw. The area is between the capital and an area dominated by the Karenni ethnic minority group, which also has been fighting against the military-installed government.
Newly formed militia units opposed to military rule are part of a loosely organized People’s Defense Force, or PDF, which has allied with well-established armed ethnic minority groups such as the Karenni, the Karen and the Kachin. The ethnic groups have been fighting the central government for more than half a century, seeking greater autonomy in border regions.