Myanmar Junta Battalion Commander ‘Among Casualties’ in Karen State Battles

By The Irrawaddy 10 January 2023

Karen resistance forces say a regime battalion commander was among 45 junta soldiers confirmed killed or wounded in coordinated attacks on three battalions in Kyainseikgyi Township, Karen State last week.

At 4 am last Wednesday, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and three People’s Defense Force groups raided Battalions 32, 283 and 284 stationed near the town of Kyainseikgyi, the Red Dragon Column, which took part in the attack, said on Monday.

KNLA and allied PDF soldiers pose with weapons and ammunition seized in a clash with junta forces in Kawkareik Township, Karen State in late December. Photo – NUG’s Southern Military Region Facebook.

The KNLA is the armed wing of the Karen National Union (KNU).

Resistance forces managed to seize the battalions’ base and torch the infantry barracks, some officers’ quarters and vehicles before they were forced to retreat by junta airstrikes, the groups said.

A video released by the Cobra Column resistance group shows its fighters entering a military battalion compound at the base as advance units secure the perimeter.

The commander of Infantry Battalion 284 was among 45 junta troops killed or wounded during the nine-hour raid, according to Red Dragon Column.

The group said seven of its own troops were killed and 13 others wounded in the attack.

The junta issued a statement claiming that resistance forces had only burned down abandoned military buildings near the battalion base’s fence before retreating in the face of a counterattack by regime soldiers and their families.

It added that regime troops had also seized bodies of resistance fighters, calling them terrorists, along with weapons and ammunition. However, the statement made no mention of junta military casualties. The wife of the Battalion 284 commander was reportedly seized by resistance fighters but then escaped during the airstrikes.

KNLA and allied PDFS also killed 90 junta soldiers and allied Border Guard Forces (BGFs) in six days of attacks from Dec. 31 to Jan. 5 on BGF outposts along the Phayathonsu road in Kyainseikgyi Township, according to the Lion Battalion Commando Group, which coordinated the attacks.

Resistance forces managed to seize two BGF outposts despite the regime retaliating with heavy artillery and airstrikes. Nine resistance fighters were killed and 15 injured in the intense fighting, said a resistance Special Operation Force that took part in the raids.

Meanwhile the KNU reports that between December 22 and 28, a total of 56 regime troops were killed and 40 wounded in 11 clashes inside KNLA Brigade 6 territory.