Man dies amid military shelling in Sagaing as PDF ambush ‘kills 47 junta soldiers’ 

Junta shelling in Sagaing Region’s Kalay Township killed a civilian and injured two rescue workers who tried to collect his body on Wednesday, an eyewitness told Myanmar Now, as People’s Defence Force (PDF) fighters inflicted heavy losses on soldiers during a clash nearby.  

The shells were fired by soldiers from a military convoy stationed close to the village of Sithar in the south of the township, the local said, and landed in the nearby village of Natchaung. 

“A man died after getting disemboweled by the shell,” said the witness, who was among those who tried to retrieve the body. “They even fired another shell at our car when we tried to go and pick up his body. The two people in the front seats of our car got hit by shrapnel.” 

The injured people, who were part of a local social services group, are in a stable condition, he added. Myanmar Now was unable to confirm the name of the man who died. 

A second Natchaung local said, citing witnesses, that the military also raided the village and stole from its residents on the same afternoon.

“They broke into the houses that were running sundry stores and took their things and money,” he said. “They also took oil from the oil shops and they took speakers and batteries from our house.”

“We actually went back to the village to check and they were still there,” he added. “They were robbing every house they saw. They also took mobile phones from the phone stores.” 

Thousands of locals from the villages of Thazi, Natchaung, Natmyaung, Chaung Gwa and Heloke have been displaced in recent weeks by military raids. 

A junta spokesperson could not be reached for comment. 

On the morning the man was killed, the Kalay PDF says it killed at least 47 junta soldiers during an ambush on a military convoy near Sithar and that a civilian and a PDF fighter also died during the clash. Four civilians were injured, it added. 

A day before, the group killed at least three soldiers in a similar attack using landmines against a convoy of eight junta vehicles in the same area, it said.

Myanmar Now was unable to independently confirm the number of soldiers that had died. 

The Kalay PDF said the military also raided Chaung Gwa on Wednesday evening and torched three houses. Soldiers fired multiple shells near Hakhalay village on the same evening, the group added. 

The PDF has warned civilians not to travel through the southern part of Kalay and said they should be prepared to flee if more fighting breaks out. 

People in Kalay were among the first ordinary civilians to take up arms against the junta in the wake of the February 1 coup, using rudimentary hunting muskets to launch guerrilla-style attacks against soldiers. 

The junta has also ordered intense attacks recently across neighbouring Chin State where, as in Sagaing, armed resistance to its rule is strong.

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