Burma

KNLA Captures Strategic Camp From Myanmar Military Near Thai Border

By The Irrawaddy 19 May 2022

The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and allied resistance forces seized a strategic camp from the Myanmar military in Karen State near the Thai border on Wednesday despite facing heavy air strikes called in by the regime. 

The battle for Thay Baw Boe camp in Karen State’s Myawaddy district next to Thailand lasted eight hours on Wednesday as the regime used choppers and fighter jets to launch at least 35 air strikes, according to reports from witnesses on the ground.

The KNLA and allied resistance troops seized the camp at around 4 p.m. on Wednesday, saying both sides sustained casualties. Many arms and a large quantity of ammunition were seized along with six regime troops. The KNLA and allied forces lost three soldiers, according to a statement released by Cobra Column, one the allied groups. The death toll among regime troops was still being verified, it added.

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

Since the military coup last year, fighting between junta troops and the KNLA has been frequent in Karen State as the Karen National Union, the political wing of the KNLA, openly rejected the takeover. It has also provided shelter and military training to anyone willing to fight against the regime. Since fighting intensified in Karen State in December, many freshly trained resistance groups have fought alongside KNLA soldiers in the area.

Similarly, in northern Myanmar, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has refused to accept the junta’s rule and is supporting resistance groups. The ethnic Kachin army also seized a strategic junta base, Alaw Bum near the Chinese border, in late March last year. The regime has tried unsuccessfully to recapture it.

Both the KNLA and KIA have turned down an invitation to peace talks by the regime early this month, saying the talks are not a genuine effort to achieve peace and would not be all-inclusive.

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