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Military Junta Forces Surrender in Myawaddy, Myanmar

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Military Junta Forces Surrender in Myawaddy, Myanmar

The military dictatorship that took power in Myanmar three years ago has suffered another major loss, this time on the eastern border with Thailand. Troops had been under attack for weeks by ethnic Karen insurgents joined with other anti-coup forces.

Hundreds of troops guarding the strategic border town of Myawaddy have agreed to surrender. Myawaddy serves as the primary route for Myanmar’s overland trade with Thailand.

On Friday, the Karen National Union said it had accepted the surrender of a battalion headquartered in Thanganyinaung, approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) west of Myawaddy. It shared a video of its ecstatic troops displaying a big stockpile of weaponry they had taken.

Over the weekend, Karen forces negotiated with Myawaddy’s last remaining battalion, which appears to have agreed to surrender.

This is a significant defeat for the military junta, which has recently been driven out of major territories along the Chinese border in Shan State and Rakhine State near the Bangladesh border.

Thousands of soldiers have already been killed, surrendered, or defected to the resistance, forcing the military to force conscription on the public to compensate for the losses.

Since Myanmar’s independence in 1948, the Karen National Union has fought for ethnic Karen self-rule. However, it suffered a series of losses at the hands of government forces in the 1990s and was part of a nationwide ceasefire in 2015.

Myanmar KNU

KNU troops at the 70th Karen Revolution Day celebration in Karen State in 2019

The 2021 coup changed that, with the KNU declaring that the toppling of Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government rendered the truce null and void. Karen State was a popular destination for dissidents fleeing the severe military suppression of rallies following the coup since it was relatively close to Yangon, Myanmar’s major city, and provided the best path to the Thai border.

The KNU has assisted in training many volunteer fighters from the cities, who have since joined it in repeated attacks on military strongholds.

The KNU has also attempted to coordinate its actions with those of other major insurgent organizations, such as the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force to the north of Karen State and the Kachin Independence Army in the far north of the country.

The balance of power in Karen State has recently changed in favor of the opposition since a formidable militia located on the Thai border that had previously supported the military regime switched sides earlier this year.

Overwhelmed by fighting in so many other parts of Myanmar, the military has been unable to strengthen its positions in Karen State, and it has lost control of the important routes leading to the border.

Thousands of noncombatants have already lost their houses as a result of the conflict in Karen, and many more are reportedly migrating towards the Thai border in expectation of further air attacks in the coming days. The military junta has responded to these defeats by unleashing additional air strikes on regions now controlled by the militants.

Myanmar Junta

Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, a 64-year-old general, has spent his entire career in the influential military.

Myanmar Junta Cracks Down Even Harder

Meanwhile, the New York Times says that hundreds of innocent people have been killed, and tens of thousands of pro-democracy protestors have been detained in Myanmar’s military jails. The return of military control has caused turmoil in Myanmar in recent years.

The reigning military junta is becoming increasingly ruthless as a rebel insurgency gains traction in the countryside. It has stepped up its efforts to arrest dissidents and others who refuse to join its army. And it is administering progressively deadly treatment to individuals in prison.

More than 100 prisoners died in the first two months of the year as a result of abuse or neglect, according to human rights organizations and former detainees.

They claim that conditions in military-run jails have worsened further, with prisoners denied food, appropriate sanitation, and health treatment, as well as subjected to brutal abuse.

In February, the military declared a forced conscription, indicating it was on the defensive. The military could use that directive as an excuse to initiate a new arrest campaign, as anyone who resists conscription risks up to five years in prison.

The junta has stated that it will begin emptying prisons, releasing thousands of captives. However, any such freedom is likely to be temporary: rights groups point out that last year, the junta issued similar “amnesties,” only to re-arrest many of those who were released.

myanmar prisons

Prison security officials prepare for the reported release of inmates outside Insein prison in Yangon.

Myanmar Witness, a rights organization, claimed to have reviewed satellite images that revealed the construction of entire new prison complexes and new buildings near existing jails.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), approximately 120 dissidents died in military prisons in the first two months of this year, and 602 died in similar circumstances last year.

According to the group, around 1,500 people have perished in junta prison since the coup in February 2021. It claimed that the current dictatorship tortured and killed dozens of inmates. More than 20,000 individuals are believed to be under the junta’s captivity, while the civilian dead toll has topped 4,500.

The reigning military, known as the Tatmadaw, has long been infamous for bombing civilians, using them as human shields, persecuting minorities such as the Rohingya, and torturing pro-democracy campaigners.

It briefly shared power with Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government before regaining complete rule three years ago.

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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