A pair of villages under the control of the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia group came under attack from anti-junta forces in Sagaing Region earlier this week.
The two villages, in Ye-U and Taze townships, were targeted by an alliance of more than a dozen resistance groups active in the area, according to members of some of the groups involved.
The first attack took place on Wednesday morning, when resistance forces mounted an assault on the village of Aung Tharyar in Ye-U Township.
There were at least two confirmed casualties in that attack, a leader of the Armed Revolutionary Force (ARF), based in Khin-U Township, told Myanmar Now.
“There was a shootout, and two of them were killed by a sniper, who saw them fall through his sniper telescope. We don’t know if there were any other fatalities,” he said.
“We weren’t able to overrun the village, but we did manage to attack without any casualties on our side,” he added.
The village was reportedly surrounded by members of the Pyu Saw Htee, who were guarding it from resistance forces when they came under attack.
The Pyu Saw Htee forces based in Aung Tharyar have been accused of looting a number of villages in the area during a series of raids carried out with junta soldiers.
According to the ARF leader, they may also have been involved in the killing of more than two dozen civilians in and around the village of Mone Taing Pin in May.
The day after the attack on Aung Tharyar, members of the same anti-regime alliance clashed with the Pyu Saw Htee again in the Taze Township village of In Koke Kar, about 20km away.
A leader of a Taze-based resistance group who goes by the name of Tawin Naung told Myanmar Now that at least four on the opposing side were killed in that encounter.
“They were on guard duty near the village. There were only four or five soldiers there, and the rest were Pyu Saw Htee,” he said.
Myanmar’s coup regime started organising pro-military locals into militia groups last year amid growing armed resistance to its rule. They typically accompany soldiers on village raids and in counterattacks on local defence forces.
Earlier this month, U Warthawa, a pro-junta monk who has been active in efforts to recruit new members to the Pyu Saw Htee, told Myanmar Now that just three townships in Sagaing—Kanbalu, Kyunhla and Taze—now have 4,000 militia members, including around 100 women.
In videos that have appeared on regime-run websites, he also proclaimed that villages that support the resistance should be “erased” from the country’s map.