Myanmar military retreat from border town following rebel attacks

Picture courtesy of Thairath

Myawaddy, a border town that connects to Thailand, today witnessed the withdrawal of approximately 200 Myanmar military personnel. This retreat follows a prolonged attack by anti-junta rebels, as reported by a spokesman for an ethnic armed group and local news outlets.

The military-led government of Myanmar is grappling with armed rebel groups across multiple fronts and has experienced a series of losses in frontier regions. The withdrawal of the junta troops from Myawaddy, neighbouring Thailand’s Mae Sot, indicates a possible loss of another crucial border trading hub with direct highway access to parts of central Myanmar.

Saw Taw Nee, the spokesperson for the Karen National Union (KNU), an anti-junta group leading the attack on Myawaddy, stated that about 200 fleeing soldiers had congregated at a border crossing into Thailand on Thursday. Local news source, Khit Thit, reported that Thai authorities and the soldiers were in discussions about potentially granting them asylum.

The Myanmar junta did not respond to requests for comment.

The KNU had claimed last week that its forces had attacked a junta camp near Myawaddy, resulting in about 600 security personnel and their families surrendering.

Police Colonel Borwornphop Soontornlekha, Superintendent of Immigration in the Thai province of Tak, where Mae Sot is located, stated that border crossings in the area were open for civilians. A significant increase in the number of people crossing into Thailand from Myanmar has been observed, said Pol. Col. Borwornphop.

“Usually there are about 2,000 people who cross into Mae Sot from Myawaddy each day but in the last three days the number was almost 4,000 per day.”

In response to the situation, Thailand’s military has increased security on its side of the border, deploying army vehicles equipped with roof-mounted machine guns.

The recent round of combat between the rebels and the military has displaced at least 2,000 people within Myanmar, according to the civil society group Karen Peace Support Network, reported Bangkok Post.

The Myanmar military, which seized power in a 2021 coup, deposing an elected civilian government, has been facing numerous challenges against a coalition of ethnic rebel groups and a civilian militia movement.

Politics NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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