Fierce fighting between junta and resistance forces in the area between the Chin State capital Hakha and Thantlang to the west has resulted in casualties among the resistance fighters in recent days, according to anti-junta armed groups active in the area.
Since advancing into the state’s Timit valley in the third week of May, two junta columns, made up of around 150 soldiers altogether, have clashed with the Chin National Army (CNA) and Chinland Defence Force (CDF) while the junta air force has carried out a series of raids.
A battle broke out near the Timit River west of Hakha on Monday, during which resistance forces came under attack by a military fighter jet and 11 anti-junta fighters were killed by a heavy artillery strike, according to the Chin resistance forces.
“It’s hard to say if the artillery shells were fired by the junta force in Hakha or by the columns attacking us. However, I personally think they were fired by the ones in Hakha. There were airstrikes as well but no one was injured,” said a spokesperson for the CDF based in Hakha.
A source connected to the CNA, who requested anonymity, said that they were only able to recover the bodies of eight of the resistance fighters killed in the battle.
Myanmar Now has yet to receive confirmation from CNA officials, and the military council has not released a statement about the fighting in Chin State.
Battles were ongoing in the Timit valley as of Tuesday.
“It’s because Thantlang is an important area for them,” the CDF-Hakha spokesperson said.
“Thantlang, which has repeatedly been targeted for junta arson attacks, is now only occupied by junta soldiers and resistance forces,” he added, referring to civilian population’s desertion of the town due to the fighting.
According to the CDF-Hakha spokesperson, this was the military’s third attempt to gain control of the Timit valley, coming after a series of air attacks on Thantlang in late April. The attacks began after resistance fighters carried out assaults on temporary junta bases located in the valley.
Although civilians have fled the town of Thantlang, they have fallen victim to junta airstrikes in other parts of Thantlang Township, including an unprovoked attack on the village of Khuafo that killed 10 of its inhabitants in late March.