Thousands flee as resistance forces seize three Myanmar military bases in Bago Region

At least 10,000 civilians have fled their homes since anti-junta forces captured three military bases in eastern Bago Region’s Shwegyin Township on Saturday, according to resistance sources.

In a statement released on Monday, the Karen National Union (KNU) said that the bases were overrun by a coalition of resistance forces that included its armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), and fighters loyal to the shadow National Unity Government (NUG).

The raids targeted bases in the villages of Than Seik, Baw Ka Htar, and Tone Ta Dar and left at least 11 junta soldiers dead, the statement claimed. Weapons and ammunition were also seized, it added.

Shwegyin Township is part of Bago’s Nyaung Lay Pin District, which is a stronghold of KNLA Brigade 3. All three bases are located along the road between the town of Shwegyin and Kyaukkyi, another town some 50km to the north.

A spokesperson for the Shwegyin Township People’s Defence Team (PDT), which also took part in the attack, said that as many as 40 junta soldiers, including a battalion commander, may have been killed, while others were captured alive. 

(PDT groups, or Pa Ka Pha in Burmese, are township-based military units under the direct command of the NUG’s Ministry of Defence, unlike People’s Defence Force battalions, which answer to their own military commands.)

According to the Shwegyin Township PDT spokesperson, the three bases were raided at around 4am on Saturday. In response, the military sent attack helicopters and fighter jets to carry out airstrikes around three hours later, he added.

More than 10,000 locals from 18 surrounding villages have fled the military’s counterattacks, the KNU’s statement said. 

A resident of Shwegyin told Myanmar Now that at least 2,000 displaced villagers are currently sheltering in the town, including 500 who arrived on the day of the raids.

“People are still pouring into the town. Residents here are giving them food. The authorities aren’t doing anything for them,” said the local, who did not want to be named for security reasons.

The affected communities include the villages of Ma Bee, Pa De Kaw, Upper Me Zaung, Baw Ka Htar, Than Seik, and Inngani, he added.

The military regime has been tight-lipped about the raids on its bases and the subsequent displacement of local residents.

Weapons and ammunition seized during raids on junta bases in Bago Region’s Shwegyin Township on November 12 (KNU)

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