Junta forces reportedly came close to losing a base in an ambush by resistance forces this week in Sagaing Region’s Pale Township, according to a member of the guerrilla group involved.
The Myanmar Royal Dragon Army (MRDA), a local defence force, released a statement on Thursday describing a series of recent attacks on a junta convoy in the area as well as on a military post set up in the occupied Zee Phyu Kone village on Tuesday.
During the eight-hour battle that broke out in Zee Phyu Kone, the MRDA claimed to have killed more than 20 junta personnel, including both soldiers and members of the pro-military Pyu Saw Htee militias active in the region. They also reportedly lost one fighter of their own.
“We managed to infiltrate the village and get really close to them and attack,” said Naga, the leader of the MRDA. “We took over bunker after bunker and trench after trench. They carried their deceased comrades and withdrew into the central building,” he explained.
The resistance group was forced to retreat when the military started firing on the area from a helicopter three hours into the siege at around 2pm, then launched another air attack five hours later.
“Our people tried to continue fighting amidst the airstrikes but it started raining and it had become very dark, and it was impossible to tell our own people apart from the enemy. In the end, we had to reluctantly withdraw,” Naga told Myanmar Now.
Residents of Zee Phyu Kone had already fled the village due to the military occupation, he added, stating that the junta forces had been building bunkers and trenches throughout the community and fortifying the site with landmines.
According to the MRDA’s statement, they also clashed four times with a military convoy of 10 vehicles—four of which were tanks—bringing reinforcement troops from the Northwestern Regional Command based in Monywa.
While details were not available about each ambush, Naga said that his forces had been detonating improvised explosive devices along the convoy’s route. The most recent interception occurred on Thursday, six miles west of Pale’s administrative centre, near Letpukan village, he told Myanmar Now.
“We used guerrilla techniques, so no one was injured on our side,” the MRDA leader said, adding that he believed some of the junta troops were injured and that they had fired back at them indiscriminately.
One of the earlier attacks on the military unit occurred in Salingyi Township, according to the statement, and was carried out in coordination with another local guerrilla force. In that incident, MRDA claimed that one of the convoy’s trucks was destroyed and three more were damaged.
Myanmar Now is unable to independently verify the MRDA’s reports on the fighting in and around Pale Township.
The military council has not released any information acknowledging the incidents described by the resistance.
Anti-junta protests have continued in the region’s Monywa and Kalay districts, despite lethal crackdowns on opposition to the coup regime.