The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) managed to take over a Myanmar military base in Bago Region on Thursday, a spokesperson for the political wing of the organisation said.
Saw Ywar Kwee Doo of the Karen National Union’s (KNU) central information department confirmed that the base is located in Kyaukkyi Township, but said that further details from the ground were not yet available.
Another KNU member told Myanmar Now on the condition of anonymity that the attacking forces were a coalition of troops from the KNLA’s Brigades 5 and 3, and that the base was located in the Kapaw Du area.
“The attack started at 6am and ended at 8am. We had no casualties on our side. We have secured the base now,” he said.
A KNU statement published following the attack said that the military had flown over the occupied base with a jet in what appeared to be a surveillance effort, and that they would release further statements on any casualties at a later date.
The base was strategically located between the third and fifth brigade’s territory, a Karen local explained.
“You could get to Brigade 3 and Brigade 5 through that base. You could get to the Salween Peace Park through it as well,” the local said, referring to the environmental and cultural conservation initiative located in Karen territory in the Salween River Basin.
The KNLA seized the military base in question some 48 hours after Myanmar’s shadow administration, the National Unity Government, declared war on the junta on Tuesday morning. On September 4, the KNU had released a statement declaring that they would collaborate with any organisation dedicated to ending the military dictatorship.
“The military council is not just the KNU’s enemy. They are the common enemy for the entire population of Myanmar,” the KNU member said. “We definitely don’t want to go to war, but they left us no choice but to revolt against them just so we are able to get autonomy and self-determination.”
“What we want is not out of line. All the people of Myanmar know the truth now,” he added.
Clashes have broken out throughout the territory of the KNLA’s seven brigades in eastern and southeastern Myanmar since the February 1 coup, but have been particularly intense in Brigade 5.
In August alone, more than 200 battles between Karen forces and the military had occurred in the Brigades 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 areas.
Military offensives by the junta against the KNLA had not been launched since the coup in Brigade 4—the Dawei and Myeik area of Tanintharyi Region—but after the NUG’s announcement, fighting reached that area as well.
The KNLA had previously occupied two other Myanmar military bases in Mutraw District, the area under the control of its fifth brigade, at Thee Mu Hta and Thaw Lei Hta on March 27 and April 27, respectively.
Source: Myanmar Now