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A Karenni soldier fires a rocket-propelled grenade from the rooftop of a hotel as the group tries to take a police station about 100 meters away defended by the country’s military junta in the town of Loikaw on November 30, 2023, during weeks of heavy clashes against the country’s State Administration Council (SAC) for control of the capital of Kayah (Karenni) state, eastern Myanmar (Burma). Almost three years since the military seized power in a coup, ending a brief stretch of semi-democratic rule in the former British colony and plunging Myanmar once again into civil war, the fight for Loikaw – the capital of Karenni State – was one of the bloodiest the Karenni forces had seen. They lost at least 60 fighters in the assault, compared to around 200 in all the fighting prior. But despite the military’s brutality, and the immense cost borne by the civilian population – thousands killed and at least 2 million displaced, according to the United Nations – no one I spoke to regretted the sacrifice they were making.

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Siegfried Modola
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A Karenni soldier fires a rocket-propelled grenade from the rooftop of a hotel as the group tries to take a police station about 100 meters away defended by the country’s military junta in the town of Loikaw on November 30, 2023, during weeks of heavy clashes against the country’s State Administration Council (SAC) for control of the capital of Kayah (Karenni) state, eastern Myanmar (Burma). Almost three years since the military seized power in a coup, ending a brief stretch of semi-democratic rule in the former British colony and plunging Myanmar once again into civil war, the fight for Loikaw – the capital of Karenni State – was one of the bloodiest the Karenni forces had seen. They lost at least 60 fighters in the assault, compared to around 200 in all the fighting prior. But despite the military’s brutality, and the immense cost borne by the civilian population – thousands killed and at least 2 million displaced, according to the United Nations – no one I spoke to regretted the sacrifice they were making.