Both Sides Sustain Casualties as Fighting Rages Between PDFs and Myanmar Junta

By The Irrawaddy 18 February 2022

Around 20 junta soldiers and 20 resistance fighters were reportedly killed in Mobye town, southern Shan State, leading to airstrikes on Thursday.

Myanmar’s regime reinforced the town this week, sparking fierce clashes on Wednesday with several people’s defense forces (PDFs), the Karenni National Defense Forces and Karenni Army from Pekon Township in Shan State and neighboring Demoso and Loikaw townships in Kayah State.

Mobye PDF claimed resistance fighters killed many junta troops after more than 100 reinforcements arrived and damaged two armored vehicles on Thursday afternoon.

The regime fired artillery and two fighters jets provided about eight airstrikes, leaving many houses damaged and civilians injured.

On Thursday, seven Mobye PDF fighters were killed and six injured, according to the group.

The Karenni Democratic Front (KDF), which is involved in the fighting, told The Irrawaddy on Friday that Dr. Aung Gyi, the group’s medic, was killed by junta artillery while he was treating injured resistance fighters.

The striking doctor from Yangon joined the armed resistance in Kayah State after being detained for six months by the regime, the KDF said.

The group said 20 resistance combatants were killed on Thursday.

The Irrawaddy could not independently verify the reports.

Karenni Generation-Z, another resistance group, claimed to have killed 11 regime soldiers and injured five others on Thursday, while two of its combatants were injured by junta artillery.

On Thursday, at least seven civilians, including a female resident and a child, were injured when junta forces indiscriminately shelled civilian targets, including a building sheltering displaced civilians, according to Mobye Rescue Team charity.

Since Wednesday, almost all of Mobye’s 28,000 residents have fled the town. Rescue teams have evacuated many residents trapped in the town.

Clashes continued in Mobye on Friday while a 40-vehicle military convoy carrying reinforcements from the Shan capital, Taunggyi, is reportedly heading to Mobye.

On Friday morning, the regime torched houses in Wari Suu Palaing village outside Mobye.

The town is at a road linking Kayah State, which is largely controlled by Karenni resistance groups, and Shan State.

“Clashes will intensify as we all cannot allow regime forces to enter areas controlled by the PDFs,” said a KDF representative.

The KDF has asked the civilian National Unity Government and domestic and international donors to fund the Karenni resistance. It urged residents to follow instructions from resistance forces and avoid areas where fighting might occur.

The military regime is facing daily attacks from PDFs and many ethnic armed groups across the country.

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