Myanmar military reclaims control of Maw Khee base seized by Karen forces

On Wednesday evening, Myanmar army reclaimed the Maw Khee base from which they had fled more than two weeks ago in Karen State’s Myawaddy Township when attacked by ethnic Karen forces, a spokesperson for the Karen National Union (KNU) said. 

Since the KNU’s armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army, had seized the base on March 21, the military had reportedly been attempting to regain control of the post, resulting in large numbers of casualties. 

Map of Myawaddy Township in Karen State

KNU spokesperson Padoh Saw Taw Nee said that at least 20 junta soldiers were killed in Wednesday’s battle alone. He did not comment on whether the KNLA had also suffered casualties. 

Myanmar Now was unable to independently verify the number of deaths on either side. 

It remains unclear whether the KNLA had occupied the Maw Khee base after forcing the Myanmar military out of the site.

The junta sent more than 200 troops towards Maw Khee from the nearby town of Waw Lay on Tuesday, with further reinforcements on standby, Karen State-based media outlet KIC reported, citing the KNLA. 

The military also sent over 200 soldiers from Waw Lay on April 5 and more soldiers were sent to Waw Lay, which is a Karen township closest to Mawkhee, according to the KIC, a local news department, which cited the KNLA.

The KNLA seized a number of weapons and ammunition during the March raid on Maw Khee. Of the 28 junta soldiers from Infantry Battalion 32 and Light Infantry Battalion 555 who were stationed there, the KNLA initially reported that one was killed, one captured, and the rest had fled. 

On March 22, the KNLA reportedly also captured LIB 555’s commander—whose rank could not be verified—as well as a corporal. 

The military has released no information on the incident. 

Waw Lay and Maw Khee are located in the KNLA’s Brigade 6 territory, known as Dooplaya District. It is also 36 miles south of Lay Kay Kaw town, which was repeatedly attacked by ground forces and junta airstrikes in December, displacing thousands of people. 

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