Clashes near Kalewa leave at least 10 resistance fighters dead

The incident occurred after junta reinforcements arrived to assist regime personnel at a besieged outpost

A battle that broke out in western Sagaing Region’s Kalewa Township late last week resulted in the death of at least 10 local defence team members, according to resistance sources.

The incident occurred at around 8pm on November 9, when a column of around 70 regime soldiers clashed with the defence team members near the village of Sinaingma, in the eastern part of the township.

“The fight started suddenly in the forest. Both sides suffered casualties. There were many who escaped. There might be about 10 fighters [from the local defence teams] who were killed,” said an officer from the Kale District People’s Defence Force.

The morning after the clash, pro-junta Telegram channels claimed that 28 resistance fighters had been killed and 23 guns had been seized along with ammunition.

A member of a local defence team told Myanmar Now that the soldiers had been sent to the area as reinforcements for an outpost in the nearby village of Aung Chan Thar.

The village, which is located near the intersection of the Kalewa-Ye-U highway and the road from Kalewa to Paungbyin, had been under siege for nearly a week prior to the arrival of the junta column, the defence team member said.

“They have a strong force there,” he said, adding that there are currently nearly 100 junta personnel stationed at the outpost, including members of the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia.

“They have strongly built bunkers. It has become a strategic location along the route into the forest,” he continued.

The siege began on November 3, when a number of local defence teams joined forces to surround the outpost, blocking roads in and out of the village.

According to a statement released on Friday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, some 40,000 people have been displaced by fighting in Sagaing Region since late last month, in addition to the estimated 50,000 who have been forced to flee major clashes in northern Shan State since the start of a major anti-junta offensive there on October 27.

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