Resistance fighters in upper Myanmar inflict heavy casualties on junta forces using landmines 

Resistance forces in upper Myanmar say they used landmines to inflict heavy casualties against junta soldiers in recent days. 

The attacks against columns of soldiers in Mandalay, Sagaing and Magway regions caused scores of injuries, local armed groups said, though they were unsure of the exact number of deaths.

A chapter of the People’s Defence Force (PDF) in Mandalay Region’s ​​Thabeikkyin Township attacked a military convoy last Wednesday night at Three Mile village, just outside of the town of Takaung and near the border with Sagaing. 

Thabeikkyin locals said the attack injured at least 30 junta soldiers. The convoy was apparently heading towards Htigyaing Township in Sagaing from Thabeikkyin, one of the locals said. 

“Three Mile village is right next to the town of Takaung. We heard the sound of the explosion and a military vehicle was caught in the fire,” said the local.

There was also a small clash near the cemetery in the nearby village of Taung Ta Lone at the same time as the landmine attack, he added. “We could hear the exchange of gunshots but heard no one was injured in that battle.”    

The PDF in Thabeikkyin said the next day that it attacked the convoy in collaboration with resistance fighters from Htigyaing. A military truck was destroyed and several junta soldiers were injured, its statement said, without specifying if anyone died. 

Htigyaing has been the target of a junta crackdown aimed at crushing the armed resistance after civilians-turned-guerrillas burned down police outposts there last week.

Before its landmine attack in Takaung, the Thabeikkyin PDF’s missions consisted of assassinating suspected military informants and pro-junta local administrators, as well as destroying phone towers owned by Mytel, which is part-owned by the military.  

In Sagaing’s Taze Township on Friday afternoon, guerrilla fighters used landmines to attack about 20 junta soldiers who were returning on foot after patrolling the village of Nabetgyi.

The Taze People’s Comrades (TPC) set the mines near a bridge that connects Nabetgyi with Thetkeitan village in the north of Taze. After one of the mines exploded there was a clash between the two groups.  

The TPC said several junta soldiers died while a local said at least 18 soldiers were killed. Myanmar Now is unable to independently verify the figures. 

“We could see them marching on foot,” said the local, who is close to the TPC. “They all fell down when the landmine exploded. Two then stood up and started shooting at everything and everyone they saw for about 30 minutes.”

Although only one mine exploded, the soldiers were grouped together on the bridge and many were therefore caught in the blast, the local said.

Resistance groups in upper Myanmar are outgunned by the junta’s forces and depend largely on homemade weapons, as well as whatever they can seize from defeated soldiers. 

PDF troops at an undisclosed location in Sagaing Region in August (Supplied)

The Taze resident said guerrilla fighters find landmines highly effective compared to traditional muskets but are struggling to raise enough money to buy the necessary components to make the explosives. 

“Every resistance force is having this problem now, but we’re all selling whatever we own to make more weapons. It’d be a lot better if the NUG could provide us with more weapons,” he said, referring to the underground National Unity Government. 

The NUG has declared war on the junta and said it will unite Myanmar’s numerous resistance forces under one banner and establish a chain of command. 

Many of those who have taken up arms, however, say they have still received little or no help from the NUG.

A mechanic was shot and killed in Taze on Friday morning for reasons that are unclear.  

Kyaw Win, 48, who owned the Htoo Tawwin mechanic shop, was shot four times by two unknown attackers in civilian clothes at around 6am, according to a local.

“He was shot twice in the stomach and once in the leg. He was serving as an officer for a social service group helping civilians get oxygen supplies,” said the local, referring to efforts to assist people suffering from Covid-19. 

“We still don’t know who perpetrated the attack. Two armed assailants on a motorbike shot him,” he added. 

Since the killing, soldiers have conducted searches in the town and tightened security. 

Residents in some villages in Taze have continued to hold daily protests against the junta despite deadly crackdowns against unarmed demonstrators. 

Also on Friday, PDF fighters from Magway’s Saw Township used landmines to attack a column of around 100 junta soldiers as they walked alongside five military trucks.

At least five mines exploded in the ambush, which happened six miles outside of the township as the soldiers headed towards the town of Kyaukhtu.

“Given the type of landmines we used, there was no way for them to escape,” said a member of Saw PDF who identified himself as a battalion commander. “However, we have yet to confirm the exact number of casualties on the military’s side.”

He added that the junta soldiers also fired around 40 shots using both light and heavy weapons during their departure from Saw.

“They have been using this new strategy where the vehicles only carry the drivers and the rest of the troops just march on foot beside the vehicles,” he said, adding that the military column retreated to Saw after the attack.

The Saw PDF on Wednesday issued a statement warning civilians not to use the road connecting Saw and Kyaukhtu as there may be clashes. 

Last month the Saw PDF said it attacked junta forces with landmines on a road that connects Saw with a town 20 miles north called Kan Gyi, injuring at least 10 soldiers.

The townships of Saw and Kyaukhtu are connected to Kanpetlet and Mindat in Chin State, where armed resistance against the junta has been tenacious.

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