More than 150 people were forcibly detained following the incident, which occurred after local defence team members encountered a group of police on patrol
A group of nine local defence team members killed four police officers during a half-hour clash in Magway Region’s Natmauk Township on Sunday, according to resistance sources.
The incident occurred at around 9pm in Hpat Taw Yae, a village about 25km east of the town of Natmauk, after the defence team members encountered eight officers on patrol.
The regime forces, who may have included some soldiers, were fully armed, while the defence team members only had a pistol, a rifle, and several swords between them, according to a member of one of the groups involved in the clash.
“The guys with the guns fired back at the police, and when more junta personnel arrived on motorcycles, we started attacking them with swords,” said Garuda Force officer Bo Aung Din.
Outgunned, the defence team members were forced to retreat, but not before seizing the weapons of two of the deceased officers.
“We only had 14 bullets, so we saved the last one to go back and grab as many guns as we could get. But we only managed to get two,” said Bo Aung Din.
He added that one member of his group was shot in the thigh and back while retrieving the guns, but was not seriously injured.
According to Htan Htut, the information officer for the Beikthano People’s Defence Force (PDF), which also took part in the confrontation, three of the officers were killed in the initial exchange of fire, while the fourth died while attempting to flee.
“Three of them died right away, and the other one was killed while trying to get to his motorcycle,” he said.
Guns seized from police officers killed by a local defence team in the village of Hpat Taw Yae on October 16 (Supplied)
Residents of Hpat Taw Yae told Myanmar Now that a column of around 60 junta soldiers arrived in the village about two hours after the clash and arrested more than 150 people.
While some 70 women were released the following day, all of the men who were detained remain in custody and have been subjected to beatings, the locals said.
They added that the regime forces had even arrested 14-year-old seventh graders and also set fire to five houses in the village.
Residents of several neighbouring villages, including Thapoot Pin, Kyauk Oh, and Kantha, have also reportedly been displaced since the arrival of the junta troops in Hpat Taw Yae.
Natmauk Township is located east of the Ayeyarwady River, in an area that is mostly flat, open land. Unlike the heavily wooded western side of the river, where most resistance groups in Magway Region are based, it offers few natural hiding places.
The town is also famous as the birthplace of independence hero Aung San, who is also the father of Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.