Myanmar army lieutenant colonel defects to the resistance

A lieutenant colonel under the junta defected from the army and joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) on Thursday, according to officers who had already joined the resistance.

The individual, whose name and previous station was not disclosed for security reasons, was reportedly a battalion commander prior to leaving the military. 

“His rank is the highest among those who have joined us. This will also significantly affect the military council,” another striking officer told Myanmar Now.

Daily battles have been taking place between the junta’s forces and resistance groups in Chin, Kachin, Karen and Karenni states as well as in Sagaing Region.

According to the defence ministry under the shadow National Unity Government, a total of 8,354 Myanmar army soldiers have been killed and 2,896 injured in battles nationwide as of mid-February. 

Some 2,000 troops had reportedly defected from the military since the coup in February last year, Cpt Lin Htet Aung—a member of the CDM himself—told Myanmar Now in late January. 

Lin Htet Aung oversees Pyi Thu Yin Khwin, meaning “People’s Embrace,” an organisation supporting army defectors. 

“In 2022, we are expecting more soldiers to join the resistance and to bring along their weapons due to the much improved military skills of the on-ground revolutionary forces,” he said, adding, “It’s hard to say how many for sure, but more soldiers are going to join the resistance.”

The military council’s information minister Maung Maung Ohn said on Thursday in a junta-run newspaper that the number of deserting troops was negligible. 

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