Three resistance fighters killed in raid on base in northern Sagaing’s Wuntho Township

Airstrikes were also reported over the weekend following clashes in neighbouring Tigyaing Township

Three resistance fighters were killed when junta forces raided their mine-production and telecommunications base south of the town of Wuntho in Sagaing Region late last week.

According to the officer in charge of the base, which was operated by the Wuntho People’s Defence Team (PDT), the raid was carried out by a column of around 80 regime troops at around 5:30am on Friday.

“They attacked in a way that suggested they wanted to capture us alive. But as they got near, we fired on them with small arms. Two of us were killed in the fighting and another was taken away alive and later shot dead,” said the PDT officer.

PDTs, or Pa Ka Pha in Burmese, are resistance units under the direct command of the shadow National Unity Government’s defence ministry, unlike People’s Defence Forces, or PDFs, some of which are more loosely aligned with the NUG.

The base, which was located about 5km south of Wuntho Township’s administrative centre, was largely destroyed during the raid—including by booby traps set by the PDT forces.

“We wanted to ensure that in the event of a raid, they [junta troops] would suffer casualties and would not be able to seize our equipment. So there was an explosive planted under the tent where I slept,” said the officer.

According to the officer, at least one regime soldier was killed and several others were injured when they set off the explosive during the raid.

The blast also destroyed a telecommunications device and some equipment used to make landmines, he added. The rest of the camp was later torched by the junta troops.

The two resistance fighters who were killed during the raid were identified as Dar Thwar and Doe Lay. The body of Kyaw Gyi, the fighter who was captured alive, was burned after his execution, said the PDT officer.

The officer and three others who were at the camp at the time managed to escape, but one sustained an army injury, he added.

The column that carried out the raid was reportedly intercepted on the way back to Wuntho, but casualty figures and other details were not available at the time of reporting. 

Anti-regime forces returned to the camp later in the afternoon and found the three dead resistance fighters, as well as blood-soaked bandages and other evidence of efforts to treat wounded soldiers.

The Wuntho PDT officer said that the junta column appeared to know the exact location of the camp as well as the strength of the forces stationed there, suggesting that it was acting on a tip from informants.

Junta troops stationed in Wuntho regularly conduct offensive operations in the surrounding area, including in neighbouring Kawlin Township to the south.

Fighting was also reported over the weekend in Tigyaing Township, east of Wuntho. The clashes occurred on Sunday near the villages of Kwingyi and Zeekone and continued until a junta fighter jet arrived and dropped three bombs on the area, according to a local who spoke to Myanmar Now on condition of anonymity.

The airstrikes were likely in response to casualties among the military’s ground forces, said the local, who has ties to the Tigyaing PDF.

Areas of northern Sagaing Region bordering Kachin State have been a hotbed of the armed resistance movement since the military seized power in a coup in February 2021.

Caption: Anti-regime resistance fighters in Sagaing Region carry their weapons in early August 2023 (Myanmar Now)

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