Seven regime soldiers were killed in an ambush in Sagaing Region’s Khin-U Township on Saturday, according to a resistance source.
The attack, which took place southeast of the town of Khin-U, targeted a column of around 100 junta troops that was heading south towards Shwebo Township, the source said.
“We received information that they would be travelling to Bo Kone, a village in Shwebo, through Khin-U, so we attacked them along the way,” said Nat Soe, the leader of a local resistance group called Nghat Gyi Taung.
He said the group initiated the attack with a grenade launcher and 40mm mortar after an explosive failed to detonate due to the regime column’s use of a signal jammer. However, the explosive was later successfully detonated, he added.
At least seven junta soldiers were killed and another 13 were injured in the ambush and ensuing hour-long battle, he claimed.
The fighting took place between the villages of Than Bo and Ye Aye Kone and also resulted in the death of a drone operator from an allied resistance group, according to Nat Soe.
“I think the military figured out where the drone team was by tracking the drones. That’s how they managed to make a direct hit, killing one of their members,” he said.
The victim was identified as Soe Naing Win, 37. Another member of the drone team was also injured by the military’s artillery fire.
After the clash, the junta soldiers entered Ye Aye Kone, where they torched three houses and looted several others before continuing on their way to Shwebo Township.
Resistance forces who went into the village after the soldiers left said they found not only dead livestock and destroyed property, but also a message written in chalk “requesting” them not to use explosives in their attacks, according to Nat Soe.
Citing witnesses, he added that the column took the seven dead soldiers with them in oxcarts. The number of regime casualties could not be independently confirmed at the time of reporting.
Another column of around 200 soldiers has reportedly been terrorising residents of eastern Khin-U Township since early May, displacing thousands of people from villages along the western bank of the Ayeyarwady River.
The column crossed the river from Mandalay Region’s Singu Township on May 7, destroying the villages of Shwe Taw Gyi, Kote Tat, and Ka But, local sources told Myanmar Now.
Meanwhile, another column that originated in Shwebo raided the western Khin-U villages of Kan Thit and Aung Chan Thar on May 19, torching 175 houses and destroying water tanks and pumps to prevent residents from putting out fires.