More than 80 Myanmar regime soldiers were reportedly killed on Saturday in Karen State during clashes with Venom Commando, a local resistance group, as junta forces attempted a clearance operation in Shwe Aye Myaing Village near the strategic Ukayit Hta military outpost in Myawaddy Township.
Hundreds of Myanmar military troops from 44 Light Infantry Division (LID) clashed with Venom Commando fighters at 11am on Saturday morning, according to a Venom Commando press release.
One Venom Commando fighter said the village was like a “killing field”, with between 80 and 90 regime troops killed in the battle.
“So many were killed that I couldn’t count their bodies. They [regime forces] thought we had run out of ammunition, so they marched towards us and we just opened fire and killed them. It was like a killing field. There were between 80 and 90 bodies,” said the Venom Commando fighter. The Irrawaddy was unable to confirm the casualties independently.
Junta forces responded with heavy artillery strikes.
On Sunday morning, there was also intense fighting between 44 LID and Cobra Column, a local People’s Defense Force, and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) at Thone Htat Kwe on the Myawaddy-Waw Lay road. The Myawaddy-Waw Lay road is vital for reinforcing and resupplying military outposts including Ukayit Hta.
Many junta troops were killed and wounded, according to Cobra Column, which said it suffered no casualties. The Irrawaddy was unable to verify casualties from both sides.
Venom Commando also attacked junta forces in the area with mines on July 27, claiming that a regime company commander and soldier were killed and many others injured.
Since June 26 Venom Commando, along with Cobra Column, the KNLA and fighters from the Karen National Defense Organization, has been attempting to capture the Ukayit Hta outpost near the border with Thailand.
But with the military regime having already lost outposts at Maw Khee and Thay Baw Boe in Karen State in May, junta forces have been defending Ukayit Hta with massive air and artillery strikes. The Myanmar military reportedly carried out 125 airstrikes from June 27 to July 1 as it defended the outpost, with some jets entering Thai air space, forcing the junta to apologise to the Thai government.
Small-scale clashes between regime forces and the resistance groups continued throughout July.