A commander in the Karen National Union (KNU) died in the clash with Myanmar’s military in Papun Township, Karen State, on April 28.
Around 100 troops from the Brigade 5 of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the armed wing of the KNU, and the Bamar People’s Liberation Army (BPLA) attacked a junta outpost of around 20 soldiers, including the deputy commander of the Papun-based Light Infantry Battalion 434 on April 28.
Colonel Nay Toe (also known as Saw Htoo Kashaw) died in the five-hour clash.
“After five hours they could no longer withstand us and started to retreat. As we chased, the colonel went down to check foxholes and a junta soldier was in one. He was shot in his throat and died immediately,” said a KNU officer.
There were reports that four other KNLA fighters died in the clash. The Irrawaddy was unable to reach the KNLA Brigade 5 spokesman for confirmation.
The BPLA said it attacked and occupied the junta’s Kyauk Nyet outpost alongside the KNLA.
Maung Saung Kha, a poet turned resistance fighter and a BPLA member, posted on Facebook that the death of Col Saw Htoo Kashaw is a huge loss for the revolution.
“He was not only the leader of Brigade 5 but also our leader. It is a great loss,” he wrote.
Col Saw Htoo Kawshaw was widely tipped as the next Brigade 5 leader.
The regime also suffered casualties in the fighting.
Junta aircraft dropped bombs on Mae Nu Htar village near the outpost following the fighting, according to KNU sources.