Resistance fighters ‘kill 20’ in attack on soldiers and militiamen who burned villages in central Myanmar

People’s Defence Force (PDF) fighters last week attacked a group of junta soldiers and militiamen who burned down more than 200 homes during raids on two villages in Magway Region’s Pauk Township. 

The Saw PDF and the Kyaukhtu PDF teamed up on Thursday to attack some 50 soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee members who were stationed in Letpan Hla village after burning down between 30 and 50 houses there.  

The resistance fighters used artillery shells and machine guns in the attack. “We didn’t dare to engage in close combat as there were geographical limitations,” said a battalion commander from the Saw PDF. 

The junta’s forces retreated to the nearby village of Wun Kyone, a Pyu Saw Htee stronghold, but the PDF coalition attacked them again on Saturday, this time killing around 20 of them, the battalion commander said. 

The remains of a burned house from Lel Yar village, seen on March 3 (Supplied)

Two PDF fighters were injured and five others went missing during the clash, he added. 

“We fired shells from the south of Wun Kyone village until 9pm,” he said. “The soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee in the village fled to Pin Htaung village.”

The PDF alliance withdrew and the surviving junta fighters then returned to Wun Kyone, said Wai La, the battalion commander of the Kyaukhtu PDF. 

The PDF attacks began after the junta column set fire to 200 homes in the village of Lel Yar on Wednesday. The residents of both Lel yar and Letpan Hla have fled and are sheltering in nearby villages, according to the PDF groups.  

The junta has not commented on the reports of arson in Pauk last week, but it has denied numerous other charges of burning villages in the past, and instead blamed “terrorists,” the term it uses to refer to resistance fighters.  

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