Pa-O fighters in Shan help junta capture base from resistance forces

Fighters from the Pa-O National Army (PNA) teamed up with the Myanmar military in Shan State last week to capture a base from local resistance fighters, members of the anti-junta group have told Myanmar Now. 

A coalition force of at least 100 pro-junta troops attacked members of the Aungban Special Defence Force (ASDF) at their temporary base near Nawng Ye village, about seven miles from the town of Aungban, on September 18, the ASDF said. 

The resistance fighters were forced to retreat amid a barrage of explosions and gunfire that started at around 8am, an ASDF member said. “They employed both snipers and mortars. We had to retreat after an hour as they had much more firepower than us,” he said.

The ASDF suffered no casualties but killed two pro-junta soldiers and injured another three during the clash, he said. Myanmar Now was unable to independently verify those figures. 

The junta’s coalition fired at least 50 shells at the base during the clash and burnt it down after the resistance fighters fled, he added. 

“[They] exchanged shots on the hills. The traffic was blocked, it’s now back to normal though,” said a witness who was on the road connecting Aungban to Pindaya during the clash.

The ASDF says it has formed alliances with local people’s defence forces based in Taunggyi, Aye Thar Yar, Shwe Nyaung and Kalaw.

The day after the clash, junta forces detained some Nawng Ye villagers and forced them to act as guides in the area, a member of a local social services organisation said. The villagers have since been released but people in the area are still very worried, they added.  

Junta forces have been carrying out strict security checks on roads in Aungban, Kalaw, Pindaya, Ywar Ngan and Taunggyi in recent days. 

Two other sources in Aungban said they estimated that about 200 military and PNA troops were stationed in the villages of Nawng Ye, Loi Sawng, U Hmin and elsewhere, and have been looking for local resistance fighters in the surrounding forests.

The ASDF member said the resistance forces are in a safe place. “We’re keeping our spirits up although we lost one of our bases. We’re going to come back stronger. We’re not going to give up,” he said.  

The junta has not commented on the clash and the PNA could not be reached for comment. 

In August, the coup regime began asking junta-aligned armed groups in southern Shan State–including the PNA and the Mat Kyeng (Marrkieng), Nayai, Nar Pwe and Homein militias–to supply reinforcements to the Myanmar military. 

Earlier this month the ASDF claimed responsibility for the bombing of Mytel communications towers, a township administration office, a police station and the house of an alleged military informant. Myanmar Now was unable to obtain further details about the attacks. 

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