A battalion commander and deputy battalion commander were killed as a column of regime troops was attacked by resistance forces on Tuesday in Karen State’s Myawaddy Township, according to Cobra Column, an anti-regime force that took part in the fighting.
During the clash with the local resistance group on Tuesday on the Myawaddy-Waw Lay road in Karen State’s Myawaddy Township, the whole column of regime forces was either killed, wounded or forced to flee without their weapons. The battalion commander and deputy battalion commander were among those killed, according to Cobra Column.
Cobra Column is a People’s Defense Force (PDF) group fighting alongside the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) against the regime in Karen State. The KNLA is one of the armed wings of the Karen National Union (KNU), along with the Karen National Defense Organization (KNDO).
The fighting took place on the Myawaddy-Waw Lay road, which has been controlled by Cobra Coulmn since March, when regime troops tried to seize it. It is a strategic route for sending reinforcements to the junta’s major Ukayit Hta outpost in Waw Lay as it tries to recapture the Thay Baw Boe outpost, which was seized by the KNLA and allied PDF fighters on May 18.
On Tuesday, the fighting between about 120 regime forces from the Myanmar military’s Light Infantry Division (LID) No. 44 and Cobra Column erupted between Thone Htat Kwe and Thayat Tha Pin villages on Myawaddy-Waw Lay road at 6:20 a.m. and lasted till noon.
Regime forces continuously fired 120mm and 60mm shells throughout the clash but did not call in airstrikes this time.
“A battalion commander and deputy battalion commander were killed. The fighting is still going on so we cannot release figures on how many regime forces were killed,” Myo Thura Ko Ko, a spokesperson for Cobra Column, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday morning.
He said three resistance fighters were lightly injured. The Irrawaddy couldn’t verify casualty figures for either side.
Cobra Column released photos of seized weapons and LID No. 44 uniforms. RPG rockets, mines, grenades, 40mm artillery shells, bullets, guns and jammers were among the pieces of equipment seen in the photos.
Cobra Column also disclosed that the regime and its allied Border Guard Force are using female soldiers on the frontline.
“In this fighting, the two sides are at close range, and I can see the faces and hear the voices of female soldiers,” said the spokesperson for Cobra Column.
Cobra Column under the KNLA and Venom Column under the KNDO have been trying to seize the Ukayit Hta military outpost in Waw Lay since June 26 but have been unsuccessful so far.
On July 8, Cobra Column killed five regime soldiers including a captain from No. 44 LID who were en route to reinforce the Ukayit Hta outpost.
The column also said on Monday that five regime soldiers had defected. In videos, the deserters say they are in their late teens and early 20s and were previously posted in Rakhine State.