Myanmar military kills 18 people in pre-dawn raid on Sagaing resistance base

The military ambushed a village base of the anti-junta People’s Defence Force (PDF) in Sagaing Region’s Ngazun Township—30 miles west of Mandalay—on Sunday, killing three civilians and 15 resistance fighters.

Some 100 Myanmar army troops stationed in Kyauk Ta Lone village attacked the resistance camp, which was located four miles away in Kindaw village, on the eastern banks of the Ayeyarwady River. The soldiers reached Kindaw before dawn after crossing the waterway by ferry.

While the junta had not released a statement on the assault at the time of reporting, military-allied media reported the raid on Monday, claiming that 15 light arms, two 107mm missiles, and more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition were confiscated from the site. 

Representatives of the PDF chapters from Ngazun and Sagaing District also confirmed the attack.

“We were ambushed. Fifteen were killed and one is missing,” the spokesperson for the Ngazun Township PDF said of the casualties among the resistance group.

The bodies of four PDF members who had been on guard duty at the time of the assault were found riddled with knife wounds. Seven more slain fighters were discovered inside the base’s sleeping quarters, along with two who had been burnt on the ground outside. Two women who were in the PDF were also found dead in a house near the base.

The three murdered civilians were identified as 40-year-old Myo Kyaw Thu, 50-year-old Maung San—both from Kindaw—and 60-year-old Pauk Sa, from neighbouring Myinse.

Myinse was one of five villages reportedly raided by the same military column later that day after the assault on Kindaw. The others, all on the Ayeyarwady’s eastern banks, included Letpantaw, Myittha, Thone Lint and Eu Yin.

According to the Sagaing District PDF spokesperson, Myo Kyaw Thu and Maung San were killed when the troops in question targeted a barn that also served as a weapons production facility.

“We found one of the bodies in the water and the other inside the barn. He was shot as he tried to leave the barn,” he said.

On Sunday evening, following the attacks on six Ngazun villages that day, the junta column travelled along the highway towards Mandalay, passing through their station in Kyauk Ta Lone, the local PDF representatives said.

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