The Myanmar military used rocket launchers and artillery in an attack on the mountainous town of Mindat in Chin State on Tuesday morning, a day after more than 10 of its soldiers were reported killed in shootouts with local resistance fighters.
One clash on Tuesday happened about five miles outside of the town, where locals armed with homemade hunting rifles intercepted nine military trucks that had been sent from Pakokku, in neighbouring Magway Region, for the attack.
“There’s been a battle since 9:30am. They’re using artillery and RPGs. It’s very intense,” said a leader from the Chinland Defense Force (CDF), which formed early this month to fight against the coup regime.
On Saturday, a shootout began after locals gathered near the Aung San statue in Mindat to demand the release of seven youths who had been detained for putting up stickers with anti-regime slogans on them.
Three members of the junta’s forces were reportedly killed in the clash. It started after a police officer shot at someone and locals retaliated, The Irrawaddy reported.
Then on Monday locals ambushed a group of Myanmar military reinforcements travelling from the town of Matupi, which is about 60km northwest of Mindat as the crow flies.
Another shootout was reported in A Shay Pyin ward in Mindat the same day.
A CDF fighter said more than 10 members of the junta’s armed forces were killed in Monday’s clashes.
It is unclear how many casualties there have been on the side of the resistance fighters.
The military announced in state media on Tuesday that one of its soldiers was killed and three were injured when “rioters” ambushed a security vehicle between Mindat and Pakokku on Monday.
“Shops are closed in the town. Homes are all closed as well; there’s almost no one on the streets,” a Mindat local said.
Armed resistance against the coup regime, which has murdered hundreds since seizing power in February, has spread across parts of Chin State and Sagaing Region, where many have access to crude weapons that they usually use to hunt food.
Armed locals have fought back against the military in the Sagaing townships of Kalay, Tamu, Tant Si, Yinmarpin and Kani.