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Did the Karen National Union lose Myawaddy or withdraw?

A Q&A with Padoh Saw Taw Nee, the spokesperson of the Karen National Union (KNU), on the complex situation in Myawaddy Township after the military raised the Myanmar flag and regained control of its Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 275 base in Myawaddy Township on April 23. The LIB 275 was seized by the KNU and its allied resistance forces only 12 days before.

DVB: What is the current situation in Myawaddy Township of Karen State?

STN: The [Karen National Army/Border Guard Force] allowed the military to enter the Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 275 base to take down the Karen national flag and replace it with the Myanmar flag.

We temporarily withdrew from Myawaddy because we didn’t want to be caught in a trap between the military and the (KNA/BGF). I want to make it clear that although we withdrew from the LIB 275 base, the other outposts belonging to LIB 355, 356, and 357, are under the control of our [armed wing] the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).

DVB: Regarding KNU and its allied forces withdrawing from Myawaddy, is there anything else you’d like to add?

STN: It is only a temporary situation. Our KNLA troops are still in Myawaddy, especially in Thingannyinaung village of Myawaddy Township. The military has sent in troops and reinforcements to attack us, but they can not reach us. 

With the military’s lack of morale, I dare say that they cannot advance in any way. If this country is to become a federal democracy, the military dictatorship will not last. That is why we are determined to put an end to it. When we retreated, we avoided the trap set by the military.

DVB: Is the KNU negotiating with Colonel Saw Chit Thu from the KNA/BGF?

A: What I want to say is that we can’t tolerate military dictatorship, especially the regime in Naypyidaw. This is according to KNU policy.

DVB: What message do you want to give to the people of Myanmar?

A: The only difficulty we face is this military regime. It is already clear that dictatorship can’t continue. At this moment, they are talking about its operation to take back Myawaddy, which has become a national disgrace (as the military lost it to the KNU/KNLA and allied forces on April 11). 

We want to show our people that we can overcome anything that the military tries to do to us.

*This Q&A was edited for brevity and clarity.


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