A convoy believed to be carrying a high-ranking military supply officer triggered a landmine set by anti-junta resistance fighters on the Yangon-Mandalay Expressway on Friday morning, according to resistance sources.
A statement issued by Battalion 3501 of the People’s Defence Forces (PDF) based in Taungoo District, Bago Region, claims the battalion’s special operations forces received intelligence that the junta’s quartermaster general, Lt-Gen Kyaw Swar Lin, was riding with a convoy of around 10 vehicles as it left Myanmar’s administrative capital Naypyitaw, heading south.
The battalion set a landmine in the path of the convoy at milepost 169, which detonated at around 9:15am. They also engaged the junta force using artillery, firing on the convoy after the blast.
Tin Oo, a spokesperson for the No. 2 southern regional sub-command of the PDF, confirmed the attack had occurred and said that at least two of the junta’s vehicles had been completely destroyed.
He added that there were injuries on the junta side following the exchange of fire, but that the ranks of those injured and other details about the casualties were unconfirmed.
“We have not yet confirmed who and how many were affected,” he said.
Officials of the publicly mandated National Unity Government (NUG), which is in command of the PDF, told Myanmar Now that while they could confirm the highway battle had taken place, they had yet to determine whether the quartermaster general was indeed in the convoy at the time it happened.
Posts on pro-junta Telegram propaganda channels said three mines exploded at the milepost on Friday morning, but that no one had been harmed.
A few hours after the attack, a military column of about 200 soldiers arrested three residents of nearby villages in Taungoo Township, Bago Region, including Kyaw Soe Htike, 40, and his son Yu Ko, 18, from the village of Kyun Taw.
These incidents indicate an expansion of NUG-commanded resistance operations in areas close to Myanmar’s national capital.
Lt-Gen Kyaw Swar Lin, 51, was promoted to his rank and appointed to the post of quartermaster general in May 2020 by Sen-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, who later led the military coup of February 2021.
The No. 2 southern regional sub-command of the PDF announced on July 1 that it would be enforcing restrictions on the use of certain roads in southern Myanmar, conducting security inspections and prohibiting all traffic between 6pm and 6am.
The restrictions apply to the old Yangon-Mandalay highway and sections of the Bago-Sittaung Road in Bago Region, Yangon-Mottama road in Mon State, and Yangon-Hpa-An road in Karen State, as well as the Yangon-Mandalay Expressway where the attack on the convoy occurred.