Two local defence teams lost five fighters and large amounts of weaponry and ammunition during attacks on their bases in Sagaing Region’s Kanbalu and Chaung-U townships last week.
The two bases were raided by regime forces on the morning of May 31, according to sources from the two defence teams that were attacked.
The first incident occurred near Hpoke Kone, a village in Kanbalu Township, at around 4am. Around 60 junta troops stationed at a nearby sugar mill killed four members of the village’s defence team in the raid, the leader of the group told Myanmar Now.
Three of the victims were manning security posts near the base when they were captured and shot at close range, said the defence team leader, who added that he himself only narrowly managed to escape.
“They made us line up in front of the base. They told us to stand still, but I made a run for it and then they opened fire,” he said.
The bodies of the deceased—Sate Thoe, 18, and Zin Lin Maung, Naing Htet Oo, and Min Min Oo, who were all in their 20s—were retrieved when the soldiers left the area the following day. Two others were also injured.
A large cache of weapons, including mortars and handmade rifles, was seized in the raid along with machines used for making weapons. Twenty motorcycles and three buildings were also destroyed, according to the defence team leader.
Around two-thirds of Hpoke Kone’s roughly 700 houses were destroyed during a junta raid on May 21, so the village was uninhabited at the time of the latest attack, he added.
Meanwhile, a raid carried out on a resistance camp near the village of Khin Mon in Chaung-U Township later the same morning left one defence team member dead, according to the information officer for the Area 71 People’s Defence Force (PDF), which ran the camp.
The victim has not yet been identified because his body was burned beyond recognition, the information officer told Myanmar Now.
“They fired both light and heavy weapons relentlessly as they entered the village and set fire to everything in sight, including one person,” he said, adding that other members of the group immediately retreated due to the difference in firepower.
He added that at least 40 handmade mortars and 30 million kyat (US$14,000) worth of ammunition were lost in the attack.
“We thought we’d stock up while it was available, but now all of it is lost,” said the Area 71 PDF information officer.