Fighting breaks out on border separating Chin State and Sagaing Region

Junta forces operating on the regional border between Sagaing and Chin State have engaged in multiple recent battles with resistance forces in recent days, according to members of local guerrilla groups. 

A column of 180 soldiers divided into three units arrived at Hakha Lay village—between Kalay Township in Sagaing and Falam in Chin State—on Monday, several anti-junta defence forces confirmed. 

A clash with the newly arrived Myanmar army troops reportedly broke out at noon that day and lasted into the evening. There was an unspecified number of casualties suffered by the Kalay chapter of the People’s Defence Force (PDF) due to heavy artillery fire by the military, a spokesperson for the PDF’s Battalion 1 said. 

An injured member of the allied Chin National Defence Force (CNDF) was also reportedly captured, tortured and killed by junta forces during the battle, the PDF member told Myanmar Now. He added that they were unable to retrieve his body and were running out of ammunition due to the prolonged fighting.

“A member of Ranger Kalay Defence Force who was trying to save him was also injured as the military had much stronger firepower. They could use as many rifles and heavy artillery shells as they wanted,” the Battalion 1 spokesperson said. 

As the military units withdrew in the direction of Kalay on Tuesday morning, gunfire was still reportedly being exchanged. 

Hundreds of civilians from the villages of Hakha Lay, Yae So and He Lote fled their homes due to the fighting in the area. 

Serious battles have also been taking place nearby along the Falam-Hakha highway in Chin State since July 8, according to representatives of another resistance force, the Chin National Front (CNF). 

The organisation claimed to have inflicted major casualties on the junta troops transporting construction materials along the road by setting up explosive devices and carrying out strategic ambushes.

“We were waiting for them in position in accordance with guerrilla warfare techniques and we brought an adequate number of weapons, so we had the upper hand during the battle,” CNF spokesperson Salai Htet Ni said. 

“We managed to use the explosive devices very effectively. We also launched attacks with explosives through the use of drones. The explosive devices are much more effective than rifles,” he explained. 

One member of the Chin resistance was reportedly killed and another injured in fighting along the road. 

The Chin National Organisation—the political wing of the CNDF—released a statement on Monday reporting that two villages along the Hakha-Falam road had been targeted in Myanmar army assaults which started on July 8. 

A church and one house were destroyed in the village of Thlanrawn by junta artillery fire, and six more homes were burned down in an arson attack, the CNO said. 

Some 29 homes were also reportedly torched in a raid on the 36-household village of Taal, which has been attacked and looted multiple times over the last year. 

To the south in Matupi Township, another battle took place between the military and the anti-junta Chinland Defence Force on Monday, the group said. 

Regular clashes have been taking place in nearly half of Chin State’s nine townships, according to CNF spokesperson Salai Htet Ni, who estimated that anti-junta forces had established control over much of seven townships, with the exception of urban areas. 

He claimed the military had a shortage of troops and was facing difficulties travelling to and within Chin State. 

“They can’t send more reinforcements in the upcoming rainy season as our PDF brothers in arms in Sagaing and Magway region are also fighting against them with all they have,” the spokesperson said.

A major threat to resistance forces and civilians has been an increased military reliance on airstrikes, the spokesperson explained. 

“We don’t have protection for when the junta aircrafts come but we have tried to spread our forces out as much as possible and guerrilla techniques so that we are able to minimise the casualties.”

The military council has not released any information on the fighting in Chin State and Kalay. 

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