Myanmar’s military carried out multiple attacks, including airstrikes, on villages in Sagaing Region’s Yinmabin and Wetlet townships on Wednesday, according to resistance sources.
A major clash was reported early in the day in Kone, a village about 8km west of the town of Yinmabin, after it was raided on Tuesday evening by a column of around 100 junta troops.
The regime soldiers immediately began setting fire to houses in the village and resumed their arson attacks the next day, continuing until resistance forces launched an early-morning assault from the south and east, the sources said.
The fighting lasted until around 11am on Wednesday, when the military sent in air support for the troops pinned down by the anti-junta forces, they added.
“They were losing badly, because we had them surrounded. That’s why they had to call in a helicopter to rescue them,” said an officer of the Northern Yamar People’s Defence Team who took part in the clash.
According to a member of another local defence team, the junta column subsequently retreated to Yinmabin, where it has been stationed since late February after the township was placed under martial law earlier in the month.
One resistance fighter was injured and several civilians who were unable to flee the military raid were killed during the battle, the sources told Myanmar Now.
The number of junta casualties was unknown at the time of reporting.
According to a resident of Kone, only 40 of the village’s more than 600 houses are still standing after the military’ arson attacks.
Meanwhile, more than 80 homes were also destroyed in Wetlet Township over the course of two days beginning on Tuesday, sources in the area reported.
Three junta columns attacked several villages in the northern part of the township, with the greatest losses occurring in Tei Taw and Mote Soe Chone, the sources said.
A 60-year-old man named Myint Than was also reportedly killed on Wednesday in Mote Soe Chone, which is located about 15km north of the town of Wetlet.
“He was watering his sesame field when he was shot dead by soldiers as they entered the village,” a member of the anti-regime People’s Defence Force told Myanmar Now, adding that fighting in Wetlet Township was still ongoing as of late Wednesday.
“Battles are taking place in both the eastern and western parts of the township,” he said.
Meanwhile, a member of the GZ Special Task Force, another resistance group active in the area, claimed that explosive attacks carried out on Wednesday near the village of Hla Taw, about 10km west of Wetlet, killed three junta soldiers and injured another four.
Wetlet Township is one of three Sagaing Region townships that were placed under martial law on February 22. Martial law was declared in a total of 14 townships in the region last month.