Clashes erupt in southern Kalay as military tries to retake control of strategic road 

Resistance fighters have clashed with Myanmar military units on several occasions in Sagaing Region’s Kalay Township in recent days, as the junta’s forces try to retake control of a strategic road.

The Kalay People’s Defence Force (PDF) intercepted a column of 25 soldiers as they marched along the Kalay Gangaw road on Tuesday near the village of Man Taw. 

Five junta soldiers died in the clash, which lasted for 20 minutes, the PDF said, adding that its own troops retreated without suffering casualties as junta soldiers launched artillery at them from Hantharwadi village in Gangaw Township.

Fighters from a chapter of the Chinland Defence Force (CDF) said they attacked the same column of troops on Tuesday at 8:30am. 

A military spokesperson could not be reached for comment. 

On Sunday the Kalay PDF attacked military units and members of the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee group who were stationed in Kyauk Pyote village. Five junta soldiers and two PDF fighters died in that clash, the PDF said. 

The junta is trying to regain control of Kalay because it is a key access point to Chin State, which borders India and, like Sagaing, has also been a pocket of fierce resistance to military rule since the February 1 coup. 

Vehicles must also pass through Kalay to travel between Chin State and Tamu, a Sagaing township at the Indian border. 

Victor, a member of the Kalay PDF, told Myanmar Now the military’s key focus now is on clearing resistance fighters from the road that leads north into Kalay from Magway Region’s Gangaw Township, thereby providing access to the region from central Myanmar. 

“They are trying to reoccupy that Kalay-Gangaw road so that it will be easier for them to send reinforcements and ammunition,” he said.

The Kalay PDF released a statement on November 19 warning civilians not to drive along the road.  

Hundreds of locals from Kyauk Pyote, Mhan Taw, Kyan Thar and other villages have fled their homes due to the recent clashes, the Kalay PDF said. 

Since early October, the junta has sent thousands of troops to Sagaing, Magway and Chin in a bid to crush the armed resistance in the region. 

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