Junta forces operating on the regional border between Sagaing and Chin state have engaged in several recent battles with resistance forces in recent days, according to members of local guerrilla groups.
A column of 180 soldiers divided into three units arrived at Hakha Lay village between Kalay township in Sagaing and Falam in Chin state on Monday, several anti-junta defense forces confirmed.
A clash with newly arrived Myanmar army troops reportedly broke out at noon that day and lasted until the evening. The Kalay chapter of the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) suffered an undetermined number of casualties due to heavy army artillery fire, a PDF Battalion 1 spokesman said.
An injured member of the Allied Chin National Defense Force (CNDF) was also reportedly captured, tortured and killed by junta forces during the battle, the PDF member told Myanmar Now. He added that they were unable to recover his body and were low on ammunition due to prolonged fighting.
“A member of the Ranger Kalay Defense Force trying to save him was also injured as the army had much stronger firepower. They could use as many guns and heavy artillery shells as they wanted,” the 1 Battalion spokesman said.
As military units retreated towards Kalay on Tuesday morning, gunfire was reportedly still being exchanged.
Hundreds of civilians from the villages of Hakha Lay, Yae So and He Lote have fled their homes due to fighting in the area.
Heavy fighting has also been going on nearby along the Falam-Hakha highway in Chin state since July 8, according to representatives of another resistance force, the Chin National Front (CNF).
The organization claimed to have inflicted significant casualties on junta troops transporting construction materials along the road by planting explosive devices and conducting strategic ambushes.
“We were waiting for them in position in accordance with guerrilla techniques and we brought a sufficient number of weapons, so we had the upper hand during the battle,” CNF spokesman Salai Htet Ni said.
“We managed to use the explosive devices very effectively. We also launched explosive attacks using drones. Explosive devices are much more effective than guns,” he explained.
A member of the Chin resistance was reportedly killed and another injured in fighting along the road.
The National Chin Organization, the CNDF’s political wing, issued a statement on Monday saying that two villages along the Hakha-Falam road had been targeted by Burmese army assaults that began on July 8.
A church and a house were destroyed in the village of Thlanrawn by junta artillery fire, and six other houses were burned down in arson, the CNO said.
Some 29 houses were also reportedly burned in a raid on the 36-household village of Taal, which has been raided and looted several times over the past year.
To the south, in Matupi township, another battle took place on Monday between the army and anti-junta defense forces in Chinland, the group said.
Regular clashes have taken place in nearly half of Chin state’s nine townships, according to CNF spokesman Salai Htet Ni, who said anti-junta forces had established control of a large part of the seven cantons, with the exception of urban areas.
He claimed that the army was short of troops and had difficulty getting to and within Chin State.
“They cannot send more reinforcements in the next rainy season as our PDF brothers in arms in Sagaing and Magway area are also fighting against them with all they have,” the spokesperson said. .
A major threat to resistance forces and civilians has been the military’s increased use of airstrikes, the spokesman said.
“We have no protection against the arrival of junta planes, but we have tried to distribute our forces as much as possible and guerrilla techniques so that we can minimize casualties.”
The military council has not released any information on the fighting in Chin and Kalay state.