Clashes have been breaking out almost daily between anti-junta defence forces and the Myanmar army for nearly a week in Saw and Kyaukhtu townships in Magway Region, members of the resistance said.
The townships border Kanpetlet and Mindat in Chin State, and have been the site of “continuous” fighting since March 20, when an alliance of defence forces from the surrounding areas attacked a junta column of some 50 troops operating in the forest in the Laung Shey village tract in Saw.
The guerrilla fighters used handmade mortar shells and explosive devices, according to an information officer from the Saw People’s Defence Force (PDF), who claimed that five junta soldiers were killed in the incident.
“The junta column passing through the woods was ambushed,” he said, adding that they had been travelling from a military factory six miles south of Laung Shey and returned to Saw town the following afternoon.
He added that another clash took place on March 23 in Kyaukhtu, which borders both Mindat and Kanpetlet in Chin State. The PDF in Kyaukhtu reported that the battle broke out at 1pm with a junta artillery unit made up of around 90 soldiers who were heading from the township’s administrative centre toward Shwe Aung Thar, where there is a military base.
Wai La, a battalion commander within the Kyaukhtu PDF, said that his forces fired at least one handmade 60mm shell, and there were multiple casualties on the junta’s side.
Myanmar Now was unable to independently verify the resistance forces’ reports of junta casualties during the series of clashes.
The column spent the night in the village of Kyi, and left for Shwe Aung Thar the following morning. While there, they reportedly ransacked the community, which had been deserted.
“The people of the village had already fled, so they broke into houses, stole valuable items and killed and ate the chickens before they left today,” Wai La said on March 24.
Only on that day was there no battle in the townships, members of the Saw and Kyaukhtu PDFs said.
They claimed that their groups did not suffer any casualties in the week of fighting.
Junta officials have not commented on the battles in Saw and Kyaukhtu.
Frequent clashes have been taking place along the road that connects Magway’s Kyaukhtu with Mindat, and further, Matupi in Chin State.
CAPTION: Chin State and Magway Region as seen on the map
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