Clash in Tanintharyi leaves six junta soldiers, one PDF member dead

Six regime soldiers were killed and three others, including a police chief, were injured in Tanintharyi Region’s Launglon Township on Sunday after fighting broke out following an attack by local resistance forces. 

The leader of the Launglon People’s Defence Force (PDF) said the group also lost one of its members in the clash, which took place near Gawtinn, a village about 26km from Dawei.

The exchange of fire began after the Launglon PDF used handmade RPGs and small arms to launch an attack on a military vehicle carrying 10 soldiers and police, the group’s leader told Myanmar Now.

He added that Nyein Chan Aung, a 23-year-old engineer from Dawei, was killed instantly after soldiers returned fire with automatic weapons. 

“One of the shots fired by the soldiers hit him in the forehead. They had a lot of weapons. We decided to retreat when they started firing automatic weapons,” said the leader of the resistance group, who also took part in the clash.

It was the first time the Launglon PDF had lost a member, he added.

In July, the Launglon PDF seized an M16 rifle and a pistol following a clash with military-backed Pyu Saw Htee members in Pyinhtein, another village in Launglon.

Local residents who witnessed Sunday’s shootout said that military reinforcements arrived on the scene almost immediately after the PDF attack. 

When the fighting stopped, the soldiers quickly collected the bodies of those who had been killed and sent some of the injured to the hospital, they said. 

“The police chief from the Launglon police station was severely injured and was taken away in a car. The military picked up the dead and injured soldiers and left the village in two vehicles,” said one local.

According to a resident of the nearby village of Minyat, the soldiers also shot two bystanders on a motorcycle, including a young man who sustained a serious leg injury. 

“He is now in the hospital. He can’t have a surgery yet, as he lost a lot of blood. They gave him a transfusion,” said the Minyat villager, who is close to the injured youth.

He also noted that the victim of the shooting comes from a family of avid supporters of the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party.

Soldiers have been stationed at Gawtinn’s school and monastery since the attack, residents said. 

There were also reports that two villagers—a teacher taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement and the father of another teacher—had been arrested.

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