Myanmar’s military has launched airstrikes on a village and outpost near the Thai border, after ethnic minority Karen insurgents attacked a Myanmar army post in some of the worst clashes since a Feb. 1 coup.
- The Karen National Union (KNU), Myanmar’s oldest rebel group, has also said its fighters had taken the army camp on the west bank of the Salween river
- The KNU is the dominant political organization representing ethnic minority Karen communities in Karen, or Kayin, State, bordering Thailand.
- Its aim is self-determination for the Karen people in a region of about 1.6 million people, roughly the size of Belgium, where they are the ethnic majority in the state.
- Marginalized in then Burma’s post-independence political process, the KNU started a rebellion in 1949, which it waged for nearly 70 years. One of its key grievances was the majority Bamar community’s dominance of Myanmar’s state and military.
- The conflict has been described as one of the world’s “longest-running civil wars”.
- Karen nationalists have been fighting for an independent state known as Kawthoolei since 1949