Myawaddy’s Evolving Crisis Draws Attention from Myanmar and Thailand; Drone Attack Targets Military Headquarters in Mawlamyine

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – April 09 Scenes

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Myawaddy’s Evolving Crisis Draws Attention from Myanmar and Thailand; Drone Attack Targets Military Headquarters in Mawlamyine

As the situation in Myawaddy undergoes rapid transformation, both Myanmar and Thailand remain vigilant. The fate of Myawaddy Town hangs in the balance, contingent upon the surrender of IB-275 Battalion, colloquially known as the Myawaddy Guard Battalion. By the close of April 9, reports emerged of KNLA forces launching an assault on the battalion, met by retaliatory airstrikes from the military council.

Following the KNLA’s seizure of all neighboring battalions and strategic positions near Thin Gan Nyi Naung, two scenarios emerged: either the military council would retreat from Myawaddy or the KNLA would mount an offensive. While some civil administration officials were airlifted out via Mae Sot, evacuation plans for the remainder remain unclear. Reports indicate KNLA occupation of the vicinity surrounding Friendship Bridge No. 1 on April 9, with the bridge itself, used by tourists and workers, remaining open on both Thai and Myanmar sides. Notably, armed security personnel from the military council have been replaced by Ministry of Immigration and Labor employees at the bridge.

In a humanitarian gesture, the Thai government announced preparedness to accommodate up to 100,000 Myanmar refugees fleeing the conflict between Myawaddy and Mae Sot, located mere feet apart. Already, Myawaddy residents have crossed into Thailand, with many opting to monitor developments from across the border.

Concerns arise over potential looting of abandoned homes, shops, and warehouses amid the conflict, prompting warnings from the Karen armed group, formerly the BGF. Social media reports indicate calls from displaced individuals for the KNLA to designate Myawaddy as a conflict-free zone, appealing for civilian safety amid escalating tensions.

The Thai government’s willingness to receive refugees contrasts sharply with China’s border closure during similar conflicts, reflecting divergent policy approaches. Meanwhile, uncertainty looms over the relationship between Thailand’s military and government following Prime Minister Thavisin’s call for dialogue, a stance potentially at odds with the military council’s preferences.

In a separate development, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services, Vice-Senior General Soe Win, faced an attack by revolutionary forces while visiting the Southeastern Regional Military Command in Mawlamyine. Unconfirmed reports suggest serious injuries and fatalities among senior military personnel, signaling significant setbacks for the military council amidst escalating hostilities.

As fighting intensifies in Mon State and Karen State, reports indicate direct involvement of the Military Council’s Vice-Commander, with unverified claims of severe injuries sustained during the conflict. These developments, including the drone attack on Nay Pyi Taw and the loss of Myawaddy Town, underscore a series of setbacks for the military council.