Deputy Commander Killed as KNLA Seize Strategic Army Base in Southeast Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 20 May 2022

A deputy commander was among five regime soldiers killed on Wednesday when the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and allied resistance forces seized a strategic camp in Karen State from the Myanmar military.

The battle for Thay Baw Boe camp, close to the border with Thailand in Karen State’s Myawaddy Township, lasted for eight hours as the military regime launched at least 35 airstrikes from MIG fighter jets and helicopters.

The deaths of the five junta soldiers were confirmed on Friday by the Karen National Union (KNU), the political wing of the KNLA. Many weapons and a large quantity of ammunition were seized.

Six regime soldiers were also captured on Wednesday, following the capture of one junta soldier on Tuesday. A further 11 regime troops and three porters were detained by the Thai authorities on Wednesday in the Thai border town of Mae Sot after they fled the fighting at Thay Baw Boe. They were deported back to Myanmar on the same day, according to Thai sources.

Three fighters from the KNLA and allied resistance groups were killed during the battle.

Wednesday’s seizure of the Thay Baw Boe camp is another victory for the KNLA, which has overrun several army bases in the area since last year. Thay Baw Boe had been in the hands of the Myanmar military since the early 1990s. Located in a strategic position, it was used by the regime as a staging area from which to reinforce troops when fighting broke out.

Since last year’s coup, there has been frequent fighting between junta troops and the KNLA, which, along with the KNU, has rejected the military takeover. The KNLA has also provided shelter and military training to resistance fighters, many of whom are now fighting alongside the KNLA in Karen State.