Myanmar’s military raids Sagaing village, rescues prisoners

Myanmar’s military launched an aerial assault on a village under the control of a local People’s Administration Team in Sagaing Region’s Pale Township on Tuesday.

In a statement, the regime said that a commando force carried out the attack on the village of Hpalanpin, in the western part of the township, at around 3pm.

According to Zaw Htet, the leader of the Pale Township People’s Administration Team, three helicopters were deployed in the attack—one to carry out airstrikes, and two more to transport troops into the area.

“All members of the local people’s defence team, as well members of the PDF, got away unharmed, but some prisoners of war escaped,” he said, referring to the People’s Defence Force formed by Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG).

The junta claimed that 26 people, including seven women and four children, captured by anti-regime forces earlier this month were rescued in the raid.

Most of the prisoners were police or soldiers, some of whom had been in custody for up to a year, according to the regime’s statement.

Among the captives was the wife of an army captain who was captured on October 12. According to Zaw Htet, the resistance forces had attempted to get her to convince her husband to join the anti-regime Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).

“We didn’t lay a finger on her, but we asked her to call her husband directly and tell him that they would be sent to a safe place if he joined the CDM,” he said.

However, the two sides failed to reach an agreement because the captain said he would only defect if his wife was released in Monywa, he added.

In its statement, the junta also referred to its attacks last week on the villages of Yin Paung Taing and Shwe Hlan in Yinmabin Township, which it said were carried out to rescue the captain’s wife.

The charred remains of 10 people were found in Shwe Hlan last Friday, a day after the village was raided.

According to Zaw Htet, Tuesday’s raid targeted an office that was used by resistance forces to examine criminal cases, as part of the NUG’s ongoing effort to establish an independent judiciary in areas under resistance control.

Around 80 troops were involved in the raid on Hpalanpin and the neighbouring village of Thae Pyin Kyel, said Zaw Htet. Both villages are currently occupied by the regime forces, he added.

Residents of Hpalanpin, a village of around 200 households, said that it had been largely destroyed by fires set by the occupying junta forces. Details were not available at the time of reporting.

Myanmar’s military has relied heavily on airstrikes to carry out attacks in areas that it has been unable to bring under its control since seizing power in a coup last year.

On Sunday, the junta killed at least 50 people when it used jets to bomb a music festival in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township held to mark the founding of the Kachin Independence Organization, a group that has strongly supported resistance forces opposed to the coup.

“The NUG needs to come up with a plan to defend against the junta’s airstrikes, or else the enemy is just going to keep on using this tactic,” said Naga, the leader of an anti-regime group called the Myanmar Royal Dragon Army.

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