KNLA Captures Most Battalions and Camps in Myawaddy; Ongoing Fighting and Capture of Camps in Rakhine State

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – April 06 Scenes

MoeMaKa, April 07, 2024

KNLA Captures Most Battalions and Camps in Myawaddy; Ongoing Fighting and Capture of Camps in Rakhine State

On April 6, KNLA forces successfully seized the Thin Gan Nyi Naung Strategic Hill Camp in Myawaddy Township, Karen State. Reports indicate that over 600 troops and military families associated with the military council surrendered. Negotiations for the surrender of Infantry Battalion IB-257, the closest battalion to Myawaddy, are reportedly underway. It is speculated that the fall of IB-257 would lead to the surrender of Myawaddy Town, a significant trade hub on the Thai-Myanmar border.

KNLA forces have been targeting military council battalions around Thin Gan Nyi Naung in recent months. In late January, an incident resulted in the deaths of the military council commander of the 44th Division and four other officers when their helicopter was shot down upon arrival.

The successful seizure of battalions and strategic hills by the KNLA suggests that an opportunity to capture Myawaddy without significant obstacles has emerged. The absence of support from BGF armed groups, led by Saw Chit Thu, who defected from the military council’s border guard force in recent months, may have played a role in this advantage for the KNLA.

Despite ongoing attacks on Kawkareik in eastern Karen State, KNLA forces have been unable to capture the town. Efforts are focused on taking over IB-97, adjacent to Kawkareik. In the past two years, Kawkareik has endured multiple attacks, with the current assault causing extensive damage, including the destruction of hundreds of houses.

Fighting continues in Karen State, despite the closure of the main road, Kawkareik-Myawaddy Asia Road, since last year. Alternative routes such as Htawt Kaw Koe Road and Kyat U Taung Road are being used for goods transport. The Myawaddy route remains crucial for Thai-Myanmar border trade, and should the military council lose control of Myawaddy, adjustments to border trade tax collection may be made along the route connecting Myawaddy to Hpa-An and Thaton.

In addition to the conflict in Karen State, fighting persists in Rakhine State, where the Arakan Army (AA) has reported capturing the LIB-564 battalion near Buthidaung Town. This follows the earlier capture of LIB-552 in Buthidaung Town by the AA. Over the past five months, the AA has seized military bases and towns across northern and central Rakhine State, including towns like Paletwa, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U, Minbya, Myebon, Pauktaw, and Ponnagyun, as well as Ramree in central Rakhine State.

The AA now controls more than half of the 15 townships in Rakhine State and numerous border guard stations along the border with Bangladesh in western Rakhine State. While the state capital, Sittwe, has not been attacked, indications suggest that the AA is preparing to target the Western Regional Military Headquarters in Ann, the base of operations for Rakhine State’s military forces.

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