Myanmar Military-allied Karen Armed Group Commander Dies of COVID-19

By The Irrawaddy 30 July 2021

A senior Karen State Border Guard Force (BGF) commander responsible for security at a controversial China-backed new city project near the Myanmar-Thai border has died of COVID-19.  The Karen State BGF is an armed force backed by the Myanmar military.

Lieutenant Colonel Kyaw Myint, the commander of BGF station 3 in Shwe Kokko, the site of the new city project, died Thursday at his home in Thingannyinaung in Myawaddy, Karen State, BGF spokesman Major Saw Tin Win told The Irrawaddy.

He was 60 and suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. COVID-19 cases have been reported among BGF members, but the majority of people have recovered, said Maj Saw Tin Win.

“For now, none of the members are in serious condition. They got sick but recovered after taking medicine. Only Lt-Col Kyaw Myint has died of COVID-19 in the BGF,” said the spokesman.

On July 21, the commander-in-chief of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) Major General Saw Mo Shay died of COVID-19 at a Yangon military hospital. The DKBA is a signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement and has good relations with the military regime.

Despite surging coronavirus infections in Myanmar, the Shwe Kokko new city project is proceeding and the developer has been recruiting staff. COVID-19 cases have been reported among junta officials, Myanmar military personnel and their families.

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