Internet and phone access cut in more Sagaing townships as junta forces suffer heavy losses 

The junta cut off access to phone and internet connections on Sunday in three townships in conflict-hit Sagaing Region after it suffered heavy losses in fighting against the People’s Defence Force (PDF) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). 

Services for all four of Myanmar’s telecoms providers went down early morning in Pinlebu, Wuntho and Kawlin, which are all part of Kawlin district.

“I had contact with a friend until 6am this morning but I can’t reach him anymore,” a Kawlin local who is now in Yangon Region said on Sunday. 

“I still had contact with everyone last night but couldn’t call them anymore this morning. I still have the internet because I moved to another region,” a local of Pinlebu said the same day. Wifi is also unavailable in the townships. 

Twenty-two other townships across Sagaing and neighbouring Chin and Kachin states have been hit with internet blackouts since August. 

Kawlin, Wuntho and Pinlebu sit next to Katha, which borders Kachin. Local chapters of the People’s Defence Force (PDF) working with the KIA killed 40 junta soldiers in the Katha town of Moedar on September 20. 

Later in the week, the anti-junta coalition killed another 40 soldiers and seized weapons and ammunition during clashes in Kawlin, Wuntho, Pinlebu and Katha, a statement from the underground National Unity Government said. 

Weapons and ammunition confiscated by the KIA and the PDF during a clash on Friday (Supplied)

Then on Saturday junta forces launched an airstrike near Wunbe Inn village in Pinlebu. After the internet blackout, two military helicopters landed in Wuntho at bases controlled by the junta’s 33rd Light Infantry Division. 

“We had already fled the village when the air raid happened,” said a Wunbe Inn resident. “Almost 10 bombs were dropped onto a field.”

Seventeen military vehicles were seen travelling from Wuntho to Pinlebu on Saturday evening to serve as reinforcements to units stationed in Naung Muu village, on the banks of Muu river, the resident added. 

On Sunday morning the Pinlebu PDF said in a statement that the junta had launched more air raids since the blackout. The group called on other PDF chapters across the country to launch simultaneous attacks against the military council in their respective regions. 

Armed attacks against junta forces have intensified in several regions of Myanmar since September 7, when the NUG declared a “resistance war” against the regime that seized power in February.  


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