Largest Surrender of Regime Troops in Southeastern Myanmar
In a significant development, several dozen Myanmar regime troops, including battalion commanders, have surrendered to the civilian National Unity Government (NUG) and anti-regime resistance groups in southeastern Kayah State. This marks the largest surrender since the popular war against the junta erupted in 2021. The surrender took place in Maese Township near the Thai border, following intense fighting between allied resistance forces and junta outposts.
Surrender of Regime Troops
Sources on the resistance side confirm that a battalion commander, deputy commander, and troops from the regime’s Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 430 guarding Border Milepost No. 13 surrendered to allied Karenni resistance forces. Additionally, another regime battalion guarding an outpost in Nangmar Village in Maese also surrendered. The surrender of troops has been confirmed by NUG Defense Ministry Secretary U Naing Htoo Aung.
Allied Resistance Forces
The resistance forces involved in the fighting against the regime in Maese include the Karenni Army, Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, Karen National Liberation Army (the armed wing of the Karen National Union), and People’s Defense Force of the shadow NUG. Notably, two Karenni Border Guard Force units that were previously under the command of the Myanmar military switched sides and fought alongside the resistance forces.
Extent of Surrender
While the exact number of troops surrendering has not been disclosed for security reasons, it is believed to be a substantial surrender. Sources from the Karenni resistance mentioned that 21 soldiers stationed at the outpost of Thai-Myanmar Border Milepost No. 13 surrendered, and their weapons were seized. When considering other outposts, the total number of surrenders is estimated to be close to 100. However, independent verification of these claims is still pending.
Control of Maese
Following the surrender of regime troops at Border Milepost No. 13, combined Karenni resistance forces have taken control of Maese town. This has prompted the junta to respond by sending additional troops from Loikaw and Demoso to Maese. However, the allied Karenni resistance forces have intercepted them in Hpasawng Township, where around 400 junta soldiers are attempting to cross the Salween River.
Escalation and Civilian Casualties
In response to the situation, the regime conducted an airstrike in Hpasawng, resulting in the tragic deaths of four civilians, according to the Free Burma Rangers (FBR) assistance group.
The surrender of regime troops in southeastern Myanmar marks a significant development in the ongoing conflict between the junta and anti-junta forces. The growing strength of the resistance and the loss of control by the regime in certain areas demonstrate the continued struggle for democracy and freedom in Myanmar.
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