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Myanmar insurgents capture junta base in south

Insurgents have captured another base from Myanmar’s junta forces, this time in the far south of the country, in the latest in a string of setbacks for the military that overthrew an elected government in 2021, officials from anti-junta forces told Radio Free Asia on Thursday. 

Ethnic minority Karen fighters have in recent weeks seized several camps from junta forces in eastern Myanmar, mostly notably in a major trade town near the Thai border.

On Wednesday, ethnic minority Karen insurgents, together with pro-democracy allies, captured the junta’s Maw Hta camp in the Tanintharyi region’s Dawei township.

Thirty weapons were seized in the camp, where about 40 junta soldiers had been stationed, said one official from the Karen National Union (KNU), who declined to be identified for security reasons. 

“It took only a moment to capture the camp because junta troops were scared and fled,” the official said.

The shadow civilian National Unity Government’s Tanintharyi region office confirmed that the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the armed wing of the KNU, and members of allied People’s Defense Forces seized the area near the Thai border.

“A border station has been captured by Karen National Liberation Army and People’s Defense Force joint forces. At present, there are still things that need to be confirmed,” said the Tanintharyi information officer, who also declined to be identified.

RFA contacted Tanintharyi region’s junta spokesperson, Thet Naing, for more information, but he did not respond.

Myanmar has faced violent turmoil since the military overthrew a government led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in early 2021.

The fighting in recent days has prompted warnings from Thailand to Mynamar’s rivals to avoid any spillover across the border. 

In January, rebel forces captured Kyauk Htu camp in Dawei. 

On April 16, they captured Myeik, a major Tanintharyi town, and then announced the launch of military operations in two nearby townships. Of Tanintharyi’s 10 townships, only Bokpyin and Kawthoung are free from major conflict.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Mike Firn.