Resistance forces kill 17 in attack on Pyu Saw Htee training camp 

An attack on a training camp for the junta-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia left 17 people dead in Magway Region’s Pauk Township on Monday, according to resistance sources.

The incident occurred in Zee Pyar, a village about 20km north of the town of Pauk, where around 60 junta soldiers were training some 90 locals at a local school, the sources said.

“We weren’t planning a full-scale attack. We just wanted to get the upper hand by hitting them first, as we heard they were recruiting new members. So we fired at them with mortars to get them to stop, and it just escalated,” said Let Yar, a battalion commander of the Myaing People’s Defence Force (PDF).

According to Let Yar, the clash lasted about five hours.

Yar Nyunt, the leader of a local defence force that also took part in the attack, said that the fighting ended when the resistance forces ran out of ammunition and decided to retreat.

“We fired both heavy and light weapons at them. We hit many of them. We could hear them wailing and moaning in pain during the attack,” he said.

According to residents of the area, the military has been forcing both men and women to join the militia. Those who refuse are either banished or tortured, they said.

In a statement, the Myaing PDF said that it also captured 53 trainees, nearly half of whom were women.

Pyu Saw Htee leaders from Zee Pyar have also been accused of abusing locals in neighbouring villages. Some villagers have reportedly been beaten, while others have had property stolen or destroyed.

There have also been a number of murders, according to Yar Nyunt, who said that two men from Zee Pyar and three from other villages had been killed by those loyal to the regime.

Nearly a third of Zee Pyar’s roughly 250 houses were also destroyed during the attack on Monday.

“Those who were forced to take the training against their will decided to not let the Pyu Saw Htee bully them anymore and started torching their houses,” said Yar Nyunt.

He added that the captured trainees had not been mistreated and would only be asked to sign pledges not to cooperate with the regime.

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