Resistance kills junta soldier in attack on Depayin checkpoint

In what has become a commonly repeated pattern, junta troops later retaliated for the resistance attack by torching 11 civilian houses in the township’s urban area

Members of the People Defense Forces (PDFs) attacked a junta checkpoint in the town of Depayin, Sagaing Region on Wednesday morning, killing at least one junta soldier. 

After receiving intelligence that soldiers had left the checkpoint to conduct a patrol among the nearby villages, the resistance forces initiated the assault at around 10 am. There are normally some 20 soldiers manning the checkpoint, but only about half were present at the time of the attack. 

The resistance fighters used a two-pronged attack in the operation, according to a commanding officer of the group involved, the “White” PDF, which operates under the command of the publicly mandated National Unity Government (NUG). One detachment attacked from outside the town, while the other entered the town before opening fire on the soldiers. 

The fighters saw during the fighting that one junta soldier had been killed, he added. 

Kaung Kin, another PDF officer who took part in the operation, said sources close to the Depayin Hospital confirmed three junta soldiers had been admitted for their injuries in addition to the fatality.

The junta soldiers withdrew from the checkpoint after about twenty minutes of shooting, retreating towards the police station in the town, the resistance sources said. A few minutes later, junta forces inside the police station counterattacked using heavy artillery, forcing the resistance fighters to retreat. 

Junta troops later set fire to 11 houses in the town and, on the morning after the fighting, conducted searches near the checkpoint that had come under attack, displacing a number of local people from their homes. 

Junta outposts in the Depayin Township regularly come under attack by resistance forces. In late July, several soldiers and a policeman were reportedly killed when the PDF raided their security checkpoint at an entrance to Depayin’s urban area and captured a stash of weapons and equipment held there.

Junta troops have repeatedly destroyed civilians’ homes in the township following resistance attacks. When anti-junta fighters ambushed a column of regime forces there in January, the soldiers retaliated by torching houses in Letyetkone and other nearby villages. 

In November and December of last year, hundreds of houses in the villages around Depayin were severely damaged in a series of junta arson attacks. 

The military council has not specifically responded to recurring accusations of their soldiers’ arson attacks on villages, but the regime’s officials continue to insist they are defending the public. 

Historically, Depayin has shown strong support for the National League for Democracy (NLD), which served as Myanmar’s governing party for five years before its ouster in the February 2021 coup and subsequent dissolution by the military council earlier this year.  

In 2003, under the previous military dictatorship headed by Than Shwe, a notorious massacre occurred in the Depayin Township village of Saing Pyin Gyi when a mob of thugs secretly answering to the regime attacked a gathering of NLD supporters and a motorcade carrying party leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 

Since the 2021 military coup, the army has deployed troops to numerous bases in Depayin Township due to the strength of the armed resistance in the area. Resistance groups estimate that there are currently 70 or more junta police or soldiers stationed in the township. 

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