Kokang armed group reports major losses on junta’s side in Mongko battle

A military offensive against the ethnic Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in the Mongko area resulted in the death of around 100 of the junta’s own troops in a battle over the weekend, according to a statement issued by the MNDAA’s information department. 

The coup regime’s armed forces reportedly used fighter jets and heavy artillery to attack the Mang Yang base of the MNDAA, located nine miles east of Mongko town in northern Shan State’s Muse Township. 

The shelling began at around 6am on Sunday, and was followed by a ground attack hours later, according to the Kokang armed group. They described the battle as lasting the entire day and involving around 500 Myanmar army troops from four Infantry Battalions (IB)—15, 59, 79 and 113—under Light Infantry Division (LID) 99 and one, IB 313, under LID 77. 

“They were firing the shells from within the township. The shells hit the town,” a Mongko local told Myanmar Now, referring to both Mongko sub-township and Mongko town. 

He added that the shells appeared to have been fired from the sixth ward where the military held a tactical outpost on a hill. 

Around 100 Myanmar army soldiers were killed in the clash, the MNDAA said, and more than 80 injured. The MNDAA was also allegedly able to confiscate arms from the military, including machine guns, ammunition and mortar shells. 

According to the group, just two members of the Kokang forces were killed and six injured. 

Myanmar Now was unable to verify the MNDAA’s figures concerning the battle, including the reported casualties.

On December 17, the military also clashed with the Kokang armed group in Ward 7 for one hour, with the junta firing shells within the ward, the Mongko local said. 

One day earlier, a shell fired by the Myanmar army hit a house in the seventh ward, injuring a 50-year-old woman. 

Battles appeared to have paused on Monday and Tuesday, with Mongko locals resuming daily activities, despite the high military tension in the area. 

“We’re still very scared, but given Mongko’s geographical location, there isn’t anywhere for us to run, so the people have just decided to stay, come hell or high water,” the local said, referring to the sub-township being surrounded by mountains and situated on the Chinese border, which the Chinese authorities closed when fighting began.  

Weapons reportedly confiscated by the MNDAA from the military during the battle on December 19 (MNDAA)

Clashes have been breaking out between the Myanmar military and the MNDAA since June. Fighting escalated in August, prompting over 500 locals from Kaunglon village tract—seven miles east of Mongko—to take shelter in the Mongko Baptist Church. 

In the wake of the recent battles, some residents of Hpawnhseng village tract in the Mongko area were forced to take shelter in nearby villages and forests, according to another local. 

Further information about those displaced was not available at the time of reporting.  

The military has been sending reinforcement troops to areas around Mongko where the MNDAA has been operating. 

On December 15, the six member groups of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee—an alliance of seven ethnic armed organisations, including the MNDAA—met with military representatives in Mongla, eastern Shan State. 

The agenda and results of the meeting were not disclosed, and attacks on the Kokang armed group took place in the days immediately following the meeting. 

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