In the sharpest reverse to date in an escalating counter-insurgency campaign in the west of Myanmar, an elite infantry battalion of the Myanmar Army has suffered heavy losses in clashes with the rebel Arakan Army (AA).
The battalion was reportedly cut off and overrun between 10 and 11 March as it moved to relieve an army outpost in Paletwa: a bitterly contested township in Chin State bordering Rakhine State where the AA is battling for greater autonomy.
According to an AA spokesman, some 20 troops from the 7th battalion of the Bago-based 77th Light Infantry Division were killed and a further 36 troops and officers captured, including the battalion commander, who was later identified as Lieutenant Colonel Thet Naing Oo.
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