Resistance forces intercept military column in Chin State, junta responds with airstrikes

The military carried out airstrikes during battles with the resistance near a Tedim Township village in northern Chin State on Saturday, defence forces in the area said. 

A Chin alliance attacked a junta convoy of more than 150 soldiers near Hiangzing village, some 20 miles west of Kalay, at around 8am, with multiple military casualties suspected. 

The defence forces involved included the Chin National Front, Chin Nationalities Defence Force, Zoland People’s Defence Force (PDF), Civic Defence Militia, People Defence Army and the Zogarm Army.

Representatives of the groups said their geographical knowledge of the area proved to be an advantage, and estimated that at least 10 junta troops were killed by explosives set up by the resistance.

“We started attacking them after they stopped their cars as soon as the explosives detonated,” a member of the Civic Defence Militia told Myanmar Now. 

Myanmar army soldiers stationed on the Kalay University campus in neighbouring Sagaing Region started firing heavy artillery towards the battle site in Chin State at around noon, four hours after fighting began, the spokesperson for the Zoland People’s Defence Force (PDF) said. 

By 2pm, two helicopters had arrived at the scene and opened fire on the resistance forces, he added.

“We managed to successfully defend against the junta convoy in the morning,” the spokesperson said. “They probably started sending military jets in the afternoon because they had faced a lot of losses.”

Seven members of the resistance were reportedly injured in the clash, with two in critical condition after being struck by artillery and the helicopter gunfire. 

Representatives of the defence forces speculated that fighting could escalate in the area as more junta troops were expected to travel south in Chin State, and pass nearby Saturday’s battle site. 

The military convoy involved in the clash had left Kalay on January 12, shielding themselves by travelling with civilian vehicles, and reached Hiangzing after being ambushed by defence forces near another village on the route, Theizan. 

The military has been escalating attacks on Chin State as part of an offensive known as “Operation Anawrahta” since October of last year, sending massive reinforcements to the area and launching air attacks on the resistance. 

The military council has not mentioned the recent battles in Chin State during their press conferences, nor have their spokesperson answered Myanmar Now’s repeated calls for comment. 

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