The Myanmar military regime is reinforcing its positions in Bago Region’s Kyaukkyi Township after the recent loss of two of its bases there to resistance forces, according to local residents.
Six junta trucks from Penwegon town arrived in the village of Nat Thankwin on the eastern bank of the Sittoung River on Monday, a resident told The Irrawaddy.
“[The military] has been sending in reinforcements after it lost its bases. I don’t know how many soldiers were in those trucks or which military units they belong to,” the resident said.
Nat Thankwin is located on the road linking Penwegon and Kyaukkyi towns, and is home to a military base.
Resistance forces led by the Karen National Union (KNU)’s Brigade 3 carried out coordinated attacks on four junta bases, one each in Naunggon, Yan Myo Aung, Nyaunggon and Kyungon villages, between Nat Thankwin and Kyaukkyi on April 22.
The allied forces occupied and torched the junta bases in Nyaunggon and Kyungon, but were repulsed in the two other villages, according to the KNU.
Sixteen junta soldiers including a deputy battalion commander were killed and 17 injured in those clashes. One fighter died and two others were injured on the resistance side, the KNU said. The Irrawaddy could not independently verify the casualties.
Regime troops have since returned to Nyaunggon and Kyaunggon, and the junta has also reinforced its base in Nat Thankwin, according to locals.
A source close to KNU Brigade 3 said the regime is attempting to take control of the Kyaukkyi-Penwegon road linking Kyaukkyi town and Nat Thankwin. Junta bases along the road are frequently targeted by combined Karen armed groups. Drone attacks on other junta bases in Kyaukkyi Township are also common, said the source.
“The military also fires artillery routinely. It fires around four or five shells in the morning as well as in the evening. We are getting used to it as it happens daily. And we haven’t heard about civilian casualties inflicted by the artillery strikes lately,” said the source.
A Kyaukkyi resident said he often hears artillery strikes and gunfire in the township. “Sometimes, aircraft also come, and we are too frightened to hide,” he said.
According to a December report from the KNU’s Central Committee, 44,441 people have been displaced by fighting in KNU Brigade 3-controlled Kyaukkyi Township since the 2021 coup, and 12,453 people were displaced in neighboring Mone Township.