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KNU Blames Border Militia for Myanmar Junta’s Myawaddy Return

ArakanKNU Blames Border Militia for Myanmar Junta's Myawaddy Return

The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) says the Karen National Army (KNA) allowed regime troops to return to a military base in Myawaddy town on the Thai border.

Infantry Battalion 275 troops fled their headquarters on April 11 after the KNLA and its allies attacked. They returned to the base by Tuesday afternoon with pro-junta groups showing pictures of Myanmar’s flag flying again at the base.

Padoh Saw Taw Nee of the central executive committee of the Karen National Union (KNU), the political wing of the KNLA, told The Irrawaddy that the Border Guard Force (BGF) enabled the move.

The BGF announced a separation from the junta and reformed as the KNA in March but its leadership remains close to the regime.

“To avoid falling into a trap at this critical time, our KNLA troops and allies temporarily withdrew from Myawaddy,” said Padoh Saw Taw Nee, adding that nearby Thingan Nyinaung is still under KNLA control.

Padoh Swa Taw Nee said the KNLA and its allies would fight until the regime fell, despite the junta’s Operation Aung Zeya counteroffensive to retake Myawaddy. He added that the KNLA and allied forces are determined to eliminate any junta troops that came to recapture the town.

A regime soldier hoists the Myanmar flag at Battalion 275 in Myawaddy on April 23, 2024.

“We will kill any junta reinforcements and all their allies on sight and decisively crush them,” he said.

The KNLA and its allies attacked Infantry Battalion 275, the last troops defending Myawaddy, on April 9 with the base refusing to surrender. The base’s defeat left the border town in Karen armed groups’ hands.

The KNLA left the town under the control of the KNA led by Colonel Saw Chit Thu to avoid regime airstrikes.

The return of regime troops on Tuesday sparked online anger.

“It’s a waste for those who sacrificed their lives for Myawaddy,” read a Facebook post.

Another said: “KNLA and KNA leaders only care about their interests. They failed Karen and resistance fighters who lost their lives.”

An analyst said the return of troops to Battalion 275 was not the main priority for the anti-regime forces.

“It’s just a trick. The most important point in the Myawaddy mission is to assault the regime reinforcements stuck at the Dawna mountain range. If they can be rooted out, Myawaddy will be freed. If they don’t, the reinforcements will be a serious threat,” he said.

The regime has dispatched over 1,000 troops to recapture Myawaddy. The junta troops are using all three routes through the Dawna mountains to reach Myawaddy: the Asia Highway, the old road and a jungle route.

A People Defense Force fighter in Karen State said he did not understand the KNU’s decisions, saying resistance groups were occasionally ordered to retreat during fighting when victory was close.

“We feel sorry for those who have died. We are depressed about the situation. We cannot make any changes. We will die before any changes happen,” he said.

#KNU #Blames #Border #Militia #Myanmar #Juntas #Myawaddy #Return

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