Clashes, airstrikes continue in Tigyaing, Sagaing Region

While PDF fighters and their allies have seized control of large areas of Tigyaing Township, they have been unable to take the police station and other key junta positions

Since fighting broke out last week in Tigyaing Township, Sagaing Region, the junta air force has reportedly attacked several wards and villages where they believe resistance groups and allied ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) are active. 

According to resistance sources, several junta aircraft flew over the township on Friday, bombing and firing on the suspected positions of the People’s Defence Forces (PDF)—the armed wing of the anti-junta, shadow National Unity Government—and allied members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Arakan Army (AA).  

“There were four fighter jets and a Mi-35 helicopter this morning,” a member of the Tigyaing-based chapter of the PDF said, adding that the Mi-35 helicopter was also covering for another aircraft as it dropped off weapons and supplies for junta forces. 

Junta forces have so far maintained control of a few crucial positions such as the Mya Taung intersection and the nearby Tigyaing Bridge over the Ayeyarwady River, as well as the township police station, while anti-junta forces now control most remaining parts of the township. 

“We are attacking the junta forces stationed at the school and the bridge near the Mya Taung intersection at the same time. The junta has only held onto one of its bases in Tigyaing, at the police station,” the Tigyaing PDF member said. 

Soldiers and police in Tigyaing, along with local junta-appointed administrators, had withdrawn to the police station soon after fighting broke out, then barricaded themselves in with concrete fortifications.

“The fighting is far from over,” the Tigyaing PDF member said. 

A member of the NUG-affiliated People’s Administration Team for Tigyaing Township said he could not confirm the exact number of casualties or extent of damage caused by the ongoing clashes. 

“There was word that five civilians had been killed but we could only confirm the deaths of four. Two members of the defence group were also killed on November 10,” he said, referring to resistance fighters.

He added that rescue missions were underway for civilians who had been unable to flee the area before the clashes began.

Resistance groups in Tigyaing Township and other parts of Sagaing Region near the Kachin State border are reportedly fighting alongside the KIA, a Kachin ethnic armed group, and the AA, a Rakhine armed organisation and member of the tripartite Brotherhood Alliance leading Operation 1027 in northern Shan State. 

The Brotherhood Alliance has seized several towns since launching Operation 1027 against military targets in the last week of October. A statement released by the alliance that week also acknowledged that the AA was preparing to take part in attacks on junta forces in Tigyaing Township.

Col. Naw Bu, a spokesperson for the KIA, confirmed to Myanmar Now on November 10 that the fighting in and near Tigyaing has been continuous.

“I heard battles have been breaking out in Tigyaing since this morning, but we still don’t have all the details,” he said.

Anti-junta forces have already succeeded in taking over the district-level administrative seat of Kawlin, Sagaing Region, located some 50 miles west of Tigyaing, compelling local civilians and administrators to flee.

The town of Kawlin, Sagaing Region, seen on November 7 (KR)

In a public statement issued on November 10, the military council’s spokesperson Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun claimed that some reports from local media in Shan State were “false”, saying that the anti-junta armed groups were “spreading propaganda based on fear and anxiety among the people.” 

Despite this, Zaw Min Tun acknowledged the anti-junta forces’ advances in Sagaing Region.

“Some of the PDF infiltrated Kawlin in Sagaing Region, and the KIA is collaborating with them there. Battles broke out in Tigyaing today,” the junta spokesperson said.

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