At least six killed as junta, resistance forces clash near Kalay

At least six men were killed after fighting broke out between the junta’s armed forces and local defence groups south of Kalay, Sagaing Region, on Sunday. 

A joint force made up of the PDF-Kalay and the Chin National Defence Force (CNDF) attacked the Myanmar army, killing three soldiers and injuring many more, according to the armed groups. Two PDF members were also killed that day and five wounded. 

A civilian was killed by an artillery shell explosion, according to the PDF-Kalay. 

Tension escalated on Saturday when a military convoy passing Kalay’s Chin Saing village hit a landmine, leading to a raid in the area by 100 junta troops the following day, including on nearby Tharsi village. Fighting with the local resistance movement then ensued. 

After exchanging gunfire with the military, the PDF-Kalay and CNDF were forced by heavy artillery fire to withdraw. 

Two PDF members—Than Htike Aung, believed to be around 30 years old, and a former policeman who had joined the resistance—were captured by the junta as others escaped, according to a spokesperson for the group. 

“We could no longer resist once they started continuously firing heavy artillery at us. At that time, the two PDF members covered for the rest of their column by firing their guns from the frontline. Then they were arrested,” the spokesperson said. 

They were later found dead at the cemetery in Tharsi, with gunshot wounds and signs of torture, a resident of the village said. 

“Spots of blood were found next to a grave where two [other] heroes who had been previously killed during the Spring Revolution were buried,” the villager told Myanmar Now. “I think the two PDF members were killed near that grave after being tortured.”

Photos of the men’s bodies seen by Myanmar Now showed bruising and signs of facial injuries. 

The body of Kyaw Htay, a villager who was hit by shrapnel from a junta artillery shell. The picture is obscured due to its graphic content (Supplied)

The civilian hit by shrapnel from a military artillery shell was also found dead in a field near Tharsi, according to the villager. He was identified as 50-year-old Kyaw Htay. 

“We saw a hole that went all the way through his chest. There was also a major injury to his hand,” said the villager.

On Monday, Kyaw Htay was buried at Tharsi cemetery and the bodies of the two PDF members were cremated. 

During the raid on Tharsi on Sunday, junta soldiers destroyed a seminary and much of the village’s school, including classrooms, the teachers’ dormitory and the library. 

They proceeded to set fire to a house in the adjoining village of Si Pin Gyi, but villagers were able to extinguish the fire so that the house was not destroyed. 

Fighting has intensified throughout northwestern Myanmar, including in Kalay, since the shadow National Unity Government announced the start of a full-scale revolt against the coup regime on September 7. 

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