Depayin PDF fights junta soldiers who arrived by helicopter to terrorise villages 

People’s Defence Force (PDF) fighters in Sagaing Region’s Depayin have clashed with junta soldiers who arrived in the township by helicopter over the weekend and forced thousands to flee as they bombarded villages with artillery and air raids. 

In one clash on Sunday, the Depayin PDF attacked a military convoy heading to Namyar village from neighbouring Yinkyin, where junta soldiers have set up camp. The PDF estimates it killed at least 20 soldiers in the ambush and the subsequent fighting. 

Myanmar Now was unable to confirm the number of casualties. 

“The sounds of explosions and gunshots were everywhere,” a Depayin PDF officer said. “The shooting only lasted for 10 minutes as they started firing shells once they were attacked. I heard 15 soldiers were injured and were later carried away in a helicopter.”

The injured soldiers were reportedly taken to Monywa, where the junta’s Northwestern Command is based.

Another clash started on Monday afternoon with around 50 junta soldiers near the village of Inpin, he added. “They had been raiding Inpin since the morning. We can’t disclose detailed information yet,” said the officer.

Five helicopters arrived in the eastern part of Depayin, around the village of Nyaung Hla, on Saturday, depositing an estimated 300 troops and launching air raids on villages. Most of Nyaung Hla’s 5,000-strong population reportedly fled. 

Three locals told Myanmar Now on Sunday that seven people were killed the day before by the airstrikes–six in Nyaung Hla and one in the village of Thitton. 

The soldiers have set up a camp near the bridge at Yinkyin along the Muu river and launched raids on surrounding villages. On Monday morning, the Depayin PDF used explosives to attack a military convoy that was leaving Yinkyin on its way towards Inpin. 

“We attacked the military convoy… at the exit of Yinkyin village. We set up three makeshift explosive devices and detonated them. The military convoy managed to move forward though. No clash took place,” said the officer.

Seven soldiers were injured in that attack but there were no deaths, he added. 

Thousands of people have fled since Saturday from 10 villages in Depayin: Nyaung Hla, Segyitaw, Thayettaw, Mukatwin, Me Oe, Letyetkone,Weagyi, Namyar, Yinkyin and Inpin.

Around 150 soldiers on Monday morning marched through the villages of Inboke and Ingyinpin in the west of the township, burning 11 huts as they went, a local said. 

“No clash has taken place in western Depayin yet, but two main columns have been terrorising the area,” the local said. “Those huts were where civilians hid when the military entered their villages. The villagers have fled to a safer place.” 

An anti-junta Facebook page named Nyi Naung Myarr said that soldiers torched several huts near Satpyarkyin village in the morning of November 29.

The junta has not commented on the raids. 

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