23 May 2024

The Myanmar government launched an air strike on its former army camp on the outskirts of Myawaddy township yesterday.

Karen National Union (KNU) sources say that one MiG-29 fighter carried out the air strike against rebel positions in the Pa Song camp of the 275th infantry battalion, which was captured by their forces a few days ago. The rebels removed the government flag in the camp and replaced it with the KNU flag.

The bombing set fire to some buildings in the camp, but it is not known how many Karen rebels were killed or injured, as most of them had entered the bomb shelters prior to the raid.

After the seizure of the camp and Myawaddy township, Karen rebels erected a sign urging ethnic Karens to join the KNU force, with an offer of 5,000 baht monthly salaries.

Myanmar troop reinforcements, sent to assist the besieged troops at Pa Song camp, have been repelled by rebel forces and have been forced to retreat, with heavy casualties, according to rebel sources, which also claim that a Myanmar army general was injured in rebel drone attacks and was admitted to hospital in Yangon, the former capital.

Some Myanmar troops from the 275th infantry battalion, who were withdrawn from the Pa Song camp, are now regrouping near the second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge.

Thai troops from the Ratchamanu Task Force have been placed on alert along the mostly porous border between Thailand’s Mae Sot district in Tak province and Myawaddy township, a major trading hub through which billions of baht in goods from Thailand are traded into Myanmar on a monthly basis.

Thai traders in Mae Sot district say that the current fighting in Myanmar has not affected border trade significantly, although the number of trucks entering Myanmar across the first Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge has reduced slightly due to safety concerns.