Junta uses attack helicopters against resistance fighters in Magway Region 

The Myanmar military sent two attack helicopters to a battle in Magway’s Saw Township on Friday after resistance fighters killed 20 junta soldiers, the local People’s Defence Force (PDF) said. 

A column of about 60 junta soldiers left the village of Taw Ma at around 6am and were quickly met by defence forces from Saw, Kyaukhtu, Kanpetlet, and Mindat townships, a battalion commander from the Saw PDF said. 

The junta soldiers took heavy losses and called in support from two MI 35 helicopters, which arrived at around 11am and fired automatic weapons at the resistance forces’ positions. But the PDF said it received intel that the helicopters were on their way from Kyaukhtu airport.

“We continued to assault them right up to their base. They are basically trapped now,” he said earlier on Friday. “That’s why they sent helicopters.” 

The resistance fighters had the junta column surrounded on four sides, even though they had to pause their assault until 1pm while they waited out the machine gun fire from the helicopter, he said.

Twenty junta soldiers and one Saw PDF member died during the battle, he added, while a member of the Chinland Defence Force from Kanpetlet was injured. 

Taw Ma village is about seven miles north of the urban center of Saw and the surrounded convoy is apparently trying to reach Pauk, some 60 miles further along the road. 

“Because we were firing shots from all directions, they couldn’t move forward. Plus they keep triggering the landmines, so there have been a lot of casualties. That’s why they requested reinforcements,” the battalion commander said. 

On Wednesday another Saw PDF member died during a clash along the road connecting Saw with Kyaukhtu. 

The junta soldiers have used local military informants as guides while travelling along the road, where they have faced attacks from resistance forces using explosives. 

Saw township sits at the border between Chin State and Magway Region, in an area where locals from numerous townships have formed alliance to mount fierce resistance to the junta. 

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