Myanmar Military Targets Sagaing Villages With Airstrikes During Weekend Clashes

At least 15 government troops were killed while fighting Kachin rebels in the area, sources say.

Myanmar Military Targets Sagaing Villages With Airstrikes During Weekend Clashes

Myanmar’s military launched airstrikes on villages in northwestern Sagaing region as clashes with anti-junta joint forces intensified over the weekend, leaving at least 15 government troops dead and causing thousands of civilians to flee their homes to safety, sources said Monday.

Intense fighting broke out between junta forces and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) armed ethnic organization (AEO) on Sunday in Pinlebu township, prompting the military to deploy heavy weapons and call in airstrikes to clear the area, a local branch of the People’s Defense Force (PDF) militia told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

Sources said that following the strikes, PDF members urged residents of Wun Bair Inn village, the scene of the firefight, to dig bomb shelters and leave the conflict zone, if possible.

A resident of Katha township, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told RFA that the military had also ordered thousands of people to depart the area, which lies some 180 kilometers (110 miles) east of Pinlebu.

“In Pinlebu, people were ordered to evacuate to a certain site and the army said they would not take responsibility for those who did not do so—there must be about 3,000 people involved,” the resident said.

“There are eight or nine villages about a mile away from each other near the scene of the fighting. People were terrified because there were airstrikes recently. Many of the residents are very simple people—some have never even seen a train or a boat before.”

He said the military had been checking all traffic heading towards nearby Kawlin township on Monday.

Cars leaving Kanbalu township around noon on Sunday were stopped by soldiers for about three hours and some were commandeered to take the wounded to Kanbalu Hospital, residents said.

Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) said in a statement Monday that at least 15 junta soldiers were killed during clashes near Pinlebu’s Sar Taungbon village on Sept. 24 between the military and local PDF groups, and that government weapons and ammunition were seized.

RFA was not immediately able to confirm the number of casualties. Attempts to contact KIA spokesman Colonel Naw Bu by telephone went unanswered on Monday.

Residents of the area said telephone lines and the internet were cut off in Pinlebu, Kawlin and Wuntho townships early on Sunday, ahead of the airstrikes. The three townships joined 25 others across the country that have had the internet blocked after they were the center of anti-junta activities.

Myanmar’s military has attempted to justify its overthrow of the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government by claiming the party had stolen the country’s November 2020 ballot through voter fraud.

The junta has yet to provide evidence of its claims and has violently repressed anti-coup protests, killing at least 1,136 people and arresting 6,850 others, according to the Bangkok-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

On Sept. 7, the NUG declared a nationwide state of emergency and called for open rebellion against junta rule, prompting an escalation of attacks on military targets by various allied pro-democracy militias and ethnic armed groups.

Many EAOs have been fighting against Myanmar’s military for the more than 70 years since the country’s 1948 independence. In the aftermath of this year’s coup, several groups have thrown their support behind anti-junta resistance fighters, while others are joining forces with the local PDF branches to fight the military.

Joint PDF forces on patrol in Kayah state's Demoso township, in an undated photo. Loikaw PDF
Kayah state clashes

Fierce fighting also broke out between junta troops and the Karenni National Defense Force (KNDF) militia in Kayah state over the weekend near Demawso township’s Kone Thar and Thaysulei villages, according to KDNF sources.

The KNDF said two of its men were killed in the fighting and that around 30 houses in the two villages were destroyed by fire.

“On the first day, one was killed on our side and on Sunday, another comrade fell,” said a KNDF official who declined to be named.

“The enemy suffered at least 10 [deaths] and they set fire to the houses in the villages.”

Local reports said more than 10,000 people who live in the vicinity of the two villages were forced to flee into the mountains as the military fired heavy artillery shells during the fighting.

One woman told RFA that those who fled the fighting are having difficulty finding food and shelter.

“At around 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, when the military started firing heavy weapons, our houses were all shaken,” she said.

“Afterwards, the whole village fled. We took some clothes, rice, oil and salt and fled by boat. The ground in the jungle is muddy because of heavy rains and we were unable to sleep because the plastic sheets we used for cover couldn’t withstand the downpour.”

Residents of Demawso said junta troops withdrew to the township’s Nyaung Kone village on Monday.

Calls to military spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun seeking comment on the fighting in Sagaing region and Kayah state went unanswered Monday.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Myanmar’s UN Envoy Skips Address Amid US-China Brokered Deal With Junta

Experts say the deal will see him maintain a ‘low profile’ until a decision later this year.

Myanmar’s UN Envoy Skips Address Amid US-China Brokered Deal With Junta

Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations withdrew from addressing the General Assembly on Monday as part of a U.S.-China-brokered deal that will see him maintain a “low profile” until a U.N. decision on who will represent the country expected later this year, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Over the weekend, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told RFA’s Myanmar Service that current U.N. Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun had withdrawn from his speaker slot at the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) on Monday, the final day of the gathering.

“The only information that I have is that Myanmar is not inscribed on the speakers list,” Dujarric said at the time, referring further questions to the ambassador.

Kyaw Moe Tun, who was appointed by Aung San Suu Kyi’s since-deposed National League for Democracy (NLD) government, confirmed to Reuters news agency that he would not be speaking at the General Assembly, without providing a reason.

When pressed, he told the outlet that he was aware of an understanding between the nine members of the U.N. credentials committee, which include Russia, China and the U.S., although he did not elaborate.

On Feb. 1, Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup, alleging that the NLD engineered a landslide victory in the November 2020 election through widespread voter fraud. The junta has yet to provide evidence of its claims and has violently repressed anti-coup protests, killing at least 1,136 people and arresting 6,850 others, according to the Bangkok-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

Russia and China have thrown their support behind the junta, while the U.S. has imposed sanctions on the military leadership over its violent response to those who oppose its rule.

The junta appointed military veteran Aung Thurein as its ambassador to the U.N., while Kyaw Moe Tun has asked that he have his accreditation renewed, despite reports that he was the target of a plot to kill or injure him because of his opposition to the coup.

The U.N. credentials committee traditionally meets in October or November and is expected to rule on who will represent Myanmar at that time.

Speaking to RFA’s Myanmar Service on Monday, Naing Swe Oo, executive director of the pro-military think-tank Thayninga Institute for Strategic Studies in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw, said that Aung Thurein should be recognized as ambassador, given the junta’s control of the country’s executive, judicial and legislative branches of government.

He said Kyaw Moe Tun had been prevented from speaking at the UNGA “because of the informal agreement between China and the U.S.”

“All in all, I think this is a victory for the [junta] because only the representative of a government body who can officially represent the country is allowed to speak at UNGA, whether it is democratic, communist or authoritarian,” he said

“There is no reason the U.N. should recognize representatives other than those of [the junta].”

Delaying a decision

Richard Gowan, U.N. Director at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said that under the U.S.-China-brokered deal, Kyaw Moe Tun had agreed to “take a low profile” until a formal decision is made later this year on who will represent Myanmar at the U.N.

“That means that the U.S. is happy because the military is not sitting at the U.N. gaining formal recognition, but also China is happy because their position is not going to come under criticism,” he said.

“It would be embarrassing for China if … you had the ambassador using the opportunity of the U.N. General Assembly to attack Beijing’s support for the military rulers in Myanmar. And secondly, it would be possible for the General Assembly to take a vote on who should represent Myanmar … [and] there is a chance that the military representatives would lose.”

Gowan told RFA he believes that both sides were willing to accept a delay and expects that the discussion will resume in November.

“Now we don't know what the credentials committee will do at that point, and we’re all waiting very cautiously,” he said.

“But getting into the General Assembly is just one thing, right? It doesn't it's not necessarily mean being recognized as a government.”

Gowan suggested that leaders in Washington and other Western capitals are concerned about fully endorsing the NUG, which on Sept. 7 declared a nationwide state of emergency and called for open rebellion against junta rule, prompting an escalation of attacks on military targets by various allied pro-democracy militias and ethnic armed groups.

“I think that Western officials don’t want to be seen to actually be endorsing more violence in Myanmar,” he said.

Attempts by RFA to reach Kyaw Moe Tun and military junta spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun went unanswered Monday.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.