“This strategic hilltop post is important for them (the military council). Because this hilltop post can command the camps as far as those on the east bank of the Salween River. On the east bank of the Salween River, the Shadaw strategic hilltop post is the only one for them.” – Khu Reedu, military chief of the KNDF

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Caption – Khu Reedu, military chief of the KNDF

An interview with Khu Reedu, the military chief of the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF), who took command as column commander in the battle to seize Shadaw town, about the military operation for seizure of the town.

On 12 February, the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) and joint forces took full control of all military council positions in Shadaw Township in Karenni (Kayah) State, including the strategic hilltop post. During the fighting that led to the capture of the military camp, more than 160 Junta soldiers, including colonels, lieutenant colonels, majors and police captains, were reportedly killed and some taken prisoners of war.

In addition, 128 small arms, 18 assorted heavy weapons, three smoke guns, a jammer gun, communication devices, ammunition and other equipment were seized during the battle.

The battle to capture Shadaw began on 15 January, and control of the town was taken over a month later. Currently, the combined resistance forces have taken control of Shadaw.

Kantarawaddy Times conducted this interview with KNDF’s military chief Khu Reedu, who took command in the battle to capture Shadaw town, about the military operation for the seizure of the town.

Q: How long did the battle to capture Shawdaw last?

A: It lasted 27 days. We started on 15 January and ended on 12 February , a total of 27 days.

Q: How long did you prepare to take the town?

A: We went into battle only after we had prepared as best as we could.

Q: How many military council camps did you capture? How many divisions or battalions are stationed in Shadaw, including the strategic hilltop post?

A: Light Infantry Battalion 428 is based in Shadaw. LIB 428’s camps are located in the S-curve in the upper part of the strategic hilltop post. There are two camps there. Then there is Tar Ta Maaw camp near the Salween River.

Q: What were the losses of the combined forces?

A: In the 27 days of fighting, we lost nine of our comrades. Some were injured, but they were not serious or life-threatening.

Q: When did you take the strategic hilltop post? How many junta soldiers were you able to destroy?

A: We took the outpost on 12 February. It was Union Day. We started the attack at 5:30 am and took control at 8:00 am. We can’t give exact details. It’s hard to talk about it.

Q: Did any military council soldiers manage to escape?

A: Some managed to escape. Some of their soldiers escaped when we were attacked by helicopters. Six or seven of them managed to escape. When we destroyed the strategic hilltop outpost, six or seven junta soldiers escaped. We are still going after them. First they sent ground reinforcements from the Shan State side. Then we clashed twice. I guess these soldiers are from LIB 427. After they clashed with us twice, they made their way back to the Shan State side. For the second time, they sent reinforcements by helicopter three times. They arrested some villagers in that evening. Around 8 a.m. on 15 February, they killed the six villagers they had arrested. After they killed the villagers, we went after the junta soldiers who had come by helicopter. As far as we know, there were about 64 of them in total. So these two groups of junta soldiers were sent here as reinforcements.

Q: How many weapons did you seize?

A: About 180 weapons, maybe more.

Q: How important is the Shadaw strategic hilltop post for the military council?

A: As far as I know, this hilltop post is important for them (the military council). Because this strategic hilltop post can command the camps as far as those on the east bank of the Salween River. On the east bank of the Salween River, the Shadaw strategic hilltop post is the only one for them. I think that’s why it’s so important to the military council. Also, they had held this strategic hilltop post since 1995 and 1996 when they used the Four-Cut strategy. So this hilltop post has been there for more than 20 years.

Q: How important is the Shadaw strategic hilltop post for Karenni State?

A: It is important in terms of the role it plays. We believe that the situation will change a lot for the people after we drove them out. If there are no more military council camps, we will be able to carry out our necessary tasks unhindered. So it is important.

Q: Can you say that Shawdaw Township is now completely free of military council forces? Did you take any prisoners of war when you captured the camps? How many? What do you plan to do with them?

A: We have taken some prisoners of war. We took some prisoners of war both when they sent reinforcements with helicopters and when we took the strategic hilltop post. As we always say, after the prisoners of war lay down their arms, they are tried according to the law. The KNDF also has laws on how POWs should be detained or treated. We act in accordance with the law. Those who are guilty will be punished.

Q: During the battles to capture towns and camps, people were displaced and houses and buildings were destroyed. What would you like to say about this?

A: The situation in Shadaw Township is extremely difficult, especially for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Transportation is also difficult there. Compared to Demoso or Loikaw, the people there have almost no income. These IDPs are in a very difficult situation. In addition, many houses and buildings were destroyed. During the month-long fighting, the junta bombed more than 100 times. That is what the military council did. We knew all along that they would be even more brutal. That leaves us no choice but to defeat the military council.

Q: During this one month, there have been cases of civilians being shot by the military council. What do you say about this?

A: I have no words for it. I can’t still get it out of my eyes. They brutally murdered children and women. This shows that the military junta is still committing greater atrocities today. I believe that they will continue to commit these dastardly and brutal acts.

Q: Do you plan to capture the remaining junta positions in Karenni State?

A: Yes, we do. No matter which military camp or town, as long as there are military council soldiers there, we will continue to assault them.

Q: What do you want to say to the military council soldiers stationed in the remaining camps?

A: Come and join us. I think everyone understands the current situation. We can say that the military council side is weakening. They are facing greater losses at the lower levels on the ground. Therefore, now is the best time for them to defect. We urge them to make the right decision. If their decision is wrong, they will have to bear the consequences themselves. Therefore, we urge them to defect to us as soon as possible.

Sent from Kantarawaddy Times

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