Karen Rebels Announce Victories in Escalating Conflict with Myanmar Junta

By The Irrawaddy 6 January 2023

Myanmar’s junta has suffered heavy losses and lost bases in Kyainseikgyi Township, Karen State, as the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and its resistance allies have stepped up raids.

Heavy clashes broke out on the Phayathonsu Road since Saturday when the KNLA, an armed wing of the Karen Nation Union (KNU), and several resistance groups attacked Border Guard Force (BGF) outposts near the Thai border, said the Lion Battalion Commando group that coordinated the attacks.

Resistance groups also raided regime forces stationed at a Buddhist monastery in nearby Taung Soon village.

On Monday, two of three BGF outposts were seized and heavy clashes continued until Thursday as resistance forces attempt to capture the remaining BGF bases.

Karen National Liberation Army and resistance allies with seized regime weapons after occupying a police outpost in Kyaikmayaw Township, Mon State, in November last year. / SOF

Two resistance drone teams attacked the regime bases and the junta responded with airstrikes. Many houses and a monastery were destroyed in junta shelling, the resistance groups said.

During six days of clashes, more than 90 junta soldiers and BGF allies had been killed, the Lion Battalion claimed on Thursday.

It said around eight resistance fighters were killed.

About 3,000 villagers have fled into the forests and are hungry, according to the Karen Information Center media group.

KNLA troops and several resistance groups raided Infantry Battalions 32, 283 and 284 near the town of Kyainseikgyi in coordinated strikes on Wednesday.

The resistance forces temporarily occupied junta bases before retreating amid heavy fight jet and helicopter attacks, said the Kyainseikgyi Township People’s Administration Group, quoting resistance forces.

It said around 200 regime soldiers were killed in the raids while resistance deaths and injuries were also reported.

Resistance fighters said they burned down some buildings in the battalion headquarters.

The Karen National Liberation Army and resistance allies occupy an infantry battalion headquarters in Kyainseikgyi Township, Karen State, on Wednesday. / National Unity Government

The wife of the Battalion 284 commander was abducted in the raid but she escaped during airstrikes.

The Irrawaddy could not independently verify the reports.

The civilian National Unity Government reported that prisoners had been taken by both sides.

Between December 22 and 28, 11 clashes were reported by the KNU inside KNLA Brigade 6 territory in which 56 regime troops were killed and another 40 injured.