Resumed clashes near Mongko leave at least a dozen junta soldiers dead

The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) says it killed at least 12 junta soldiers during its latest round of clashes with the Myanmar military.

A spokesperson for the ethnic Kokang armed group said that it came under heavy artillery fire for six days beginning last Friday, but suffered no casualties.

“The clashes happened after they attacked. They fired artillery at us non-stop. We were just on the defence, as usual,” said MNDAA information officer Yan Naing.

Between Friday of last week and Tuesday this week, the junta army fired hundreds of artillery shells at the group’s base in Mang Yang from a tactical hill in Mongko, some six miles away, he said.

The worst day of fighting was on Sunday, when a six-hour battle that began at around 11am left at least seven junta soldiers dead, according to Yan Naing.

Later that day, at around 10pm, an ambush on a military vehicle carrying reinforcements killed five more regime troops, he added.

Exactly a week earlier, the military launched an offensive against the group that reportedly included airstrikes. 

The MNDAA claimed in a statement that as many as 100 junta soldiers were killed or wounded in that battle, while only two of its troops died and another six were injured.

A resident of Mongko said that a 60-year-old man living in Pan May, a village in the Hpawnhseng village tract, was killed by a stray artillery shell on December 25.

The same resident also reported hearing the sound of artillery fire on Tuesday night.

“We don’t see many soldiers here in town, and everything is operating as usual. But the army has been firing from the artillery hill pretty steadily,” he said.

Meanwhile, clashes also took place between the military and the MNDAA’s Brigade 211 in Hseni Township at around 2pm on Monday, said Yan Naing.

Later that day, MNDAA Brigade 511 clashed with junta forces for around 30 minutes between Pang Hseng and the Milestone 105 border trade station, west of Mongko, he added.

Hundreds of people have been displaced since hostilities in the region near Myanmar’s border with China began in June.

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