By THE IRRAWADDY 27 September 2021
Over 30 junta soldiers and at least 14 civilian resistance fighters were reportedly killed over the weekend during a series of intense firefights in several townships in Sagaing Region and Chin and Kayah States.
Fierce fighting broke out on Sunday near Kone Thar Village in Kayah State’s Demoso Township, when a combined force from the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) and the Karenni Army, the armed wing of the Karenni National Progressive Party, ambushed junta troops.
The regime soldiers were forced to retreat from the village, despite being reinforced and using heavy weapons, according to a statement from the KNDF. The KNDF said that there were many military casualties, while some civilian resistance fighters suffered minor injuries.
A 70-year-old villager wearing a t-shirt bearing the United Nations emblem was also shot dead in Kone Thar Village on Sunday by junta troops.
On Saturday, an intense firefight between junta troops and Karenni resistance forces also broke out at Kone Thar Village. At least 10 junta soldiers and a member of the KNDF were killed during the 11-hour shootout.
Junta troops have been clashing with resistance groups near Kone Thar Village since Thursday, after they arrived in the area to raid villages.
During the weekend clashes, junta troops raided many homes and burned down 30 houses in Kone Thar, the KNDF said.
Another 11 junta soldiers were killed over the weekend after being ambushed by People’s Defense Forces (PDF) in Kale Township, Sagaing Region.
On Sunday afternoon, a combined force of the Kale-PDF and the Chin National Defense Force ambushed around 100 regime troops raiding villages in the south of Kale Township.
In the shootout, junta forces retreated after facing strong resistance from the civilian resistance fighters. Three junta soldiers were killed and five members of the PDF were wounded.
On Saturday noon, Kale-PDF also ambushed a junta convoy with mines while it was travelling to Kale. At least eight Myanmar military soldiers were killed in the attack and the fleeing junta forces left their damaged vehicles behind, Kale-PDF said.
13 PDF members and at least five regime troops were also killed during another firefight in Sagaing Region’s Mingin Township on Saturday, a member of the Mingin-PDF told The Irrawaddy. A combined force of junta soldiers and a local Pyu Saw Htee group – a militia armed and trained by the regime – clashed near Gonnyin Village in Mingin Township.
Over 40 soldiers were killed in two firefights on September 11 and 24 with a combined force of civilian resistance fighters from Pinlebu, Kawlin and Wuntho townships in Sagaing Region.
Junta forces reacted on Sunday by blocking all internet access and mobile phone connections in Pinlebu Township, before hundreds of troops and two helicopters attacked the local PDF, a spokesperson for the Pinlebu-PDF told The Irrawaddy. Despite the junta’s airstrikes, there were no civilian resistance fighter casualties on Sunday. But the local PDF urged civilians in the township to construct air raid shelters.
The regime has intensified its raids and arrests, as well as burning down villages and bombarding towns, since the parallel National Unity Government declared a nationwide defensive war against the junta on September 7. Regime forces have been especially active in Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin and Kayah states.
At the same time, PDF’s have stepped up their operations targeting junta forces across the country.
As of Saturday, 1,125 people have been killed by regime forces during their raids, crackdowns, arrests, interrogations and arbitrary killings, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Another 8,456 people including elected government leaders have been detained or are the subject of arrest warrants.