Battlefield Update: November 22

Myanmar Now offers a summary of our latest reports on clashes around the country: resistance forces seize a police station in Sagaing, jails in northern Shan, and free junta hostages in Rakhine

Rakhine State

More than 100 people, including women, children, the elderly, and Buddhist monks, were freed by the Arakan Army (AA) from junta custody in Rakhine State’s Pauktaw Township on Tuesday, the ethnic armed organisation said in a statement. 

The AA accused the military of abducting residents of the township on November 16, holding them as hostages, and using them as human shields.

Tuesday’s rescue occurred after a battle between the AA and the regime’s forces in which the latter reportedly suffered heavy casualties. The AA also said its members were among the dead, but did not specify how many had been killed.

In its statement, the AA said that the military had fired indiscriminately on areas in which no fighting had occurred, using naval vessels, aircraft, heavy artillery, and rockets.

The ethnic armed group will reportedly try to free the remaining hostages held by the junta, and continue to target Myanmar army troops stationed in Pauktaw town.

Sagaing Region

PDF troops operating in Sagaing Region (Supplied)

Local resistance forces attacked a police station in Shwe Pan Kone village in Sagaing Region’s Wetlet Township on Tuesday, causing several casualties and seizing 12 rifles.

The Shwebo District People’s Defence Force (PDF) led the raid on the site at around 4am, where some 20 police officers were stationed. The military retaliated with airstrikes, deploying helicopters and fighter jets and destroying nearby schools and civilian homes in their counterattack, according to sources in the PDF.

One PDF member stated that seven of Shwe Pan Kone’s policemen were killed in the clash, and that the resistance group was searching the area for those who had escaped.

Anti-junta defence forces had previously attempted to seize the police station in question in October 2022 but were forced by aerial attacks to withdraw. 

Shan State

Doe Pin village police station on November 20, captured by the TNLA and targeted in a junta airstrike on November 19  (PSLF/TNLA)

Joint forces under the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Mandalay PDF (MDY-PDF) attacked and seized several of the junta’s prisons in Nawnghkio Township in northern Shan State over the weekend. 

TNLA spokesperson Lt-Col Tar Aik Kyaw said that they overran four jails in the villages of Lwin Gyi, Kyu Inn, Khoho, and Kone San and seized more than 100 weapons during the Sunday raids.

While the resistance forces reportedly encountered prisoners during the attacks on the sites, they had not provided further information about their condition at the time of reporting. 

Battles have repeatedly broken out this month between the military and the resistance in Nawnghkio Township as military convoys attempt to head from Pyin Oo Lwin in Mandalay Region into northern Shan State, where they are fighting the Brotherhood Alliance of ethnic armed organisations, including the TNLA, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Arakan Army.

The TNLA and MDY-PDF have seized sites including the Doe Pin village police station along the highway between Pyin Oo Lwin and Mogok and had been holding prisoners of war in the compound. On Sunday, the military’s air force bombed the police station at around 9pm. At least four people died and 10 were injured, according to the TNLA. 

The junta has also deployed airstrikes and heavy artillery attacks throughout Nawnghkio, Kyaukme, Namhsan, and Namkham townships even in areas where no fighting had occurred, often targeting civilian villages and wards, Tar Aik Kyaw said. 

One such aerial bombing occurred on Sunday evening in Mengman village in Namkham, injuring two women in their 60s and destroying around 20 homes. Another was carried out in Myothit village in Namhsan that night at 10pm, killing two men and injuring seven others. 

Three shells also hit the neighbouring village of Ohm Sum, and a 14-year-old girl died at the scene of her injuries. Four other people were wounded.

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