A total of 165 junta soldiers were killed and another 123 were wounded in shootouts with civilian resistance fighters in Chin State in the 49 days between April 24 and June 11, the Chinland Defense Force said.
In the same period, about 30 civilian resistance fighters were killed and 45 injured, while nine civilian deaths and four injuries were reported, the group said in a statement.
However, The Irrawaddy was not able to independently verify the military casualties. The military regime has not published any figures relating to the army’s casualties in Chin State.
The firefights in Chin State started on April 24 when residents took up old-fashioned homemade hunting rifles and launched an attack on the police station in the mountaintop town of Mindat. The residents launched the attack after police broke a promise to release six detained anti-regime protesters.
Since then, residents of Chin State have formed civilian resistance forces in each township to resist junta troops.
Clashes between civilian resistance fighters of the Chinland Defense Force and regime troops have been reported in six of Chin State’s nine township: Kanpetlet, Mindat, Hakha, Thantlang, Falam and Tedim.
In the shootouts, most civilian resistance fighters have been armed with old-fashioned homemade hunting rifles and homemade single-barrel shotguns, while junta forces have been armed with heavy explosives, artillery, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, and have called in air strikes.
On Thursday alone, shootouts in Hakha and Thantlang townships killed 27 junta soldiers including an army captain, and reportedly left several others wounded.
Since the firefight in Thantlang, more than 1,000 villagers have fled their homes.
Last Sunday, around 50 junta soldiers were killed as fighting intensified between regime troops and Chin civilian resistance fighters in Mindat. The clashes occurred when military troops in two columns attempted to raid villages sheltering internally displaced persons in the northern part of the town.
After losing such a large number of soldiers, the junta bombed the civilian resistance fighters twice using fighter aircraft. In the clashes in Mindat, junta forces have used the military’s Battalion No. 274 based in Mindat and an artillery unit based in nearby Kyaukhtu, Magwe Region. They have attacked the civilian resistance units with heavy explosives and artillery rounds.
Civilian resistance fighters of Chinland Defense Force-Mindat claim junta forces often use chemical weapons, saying some of the military’s explosives contain no shrapnel but leave the civilian fighters unconscious or feeling dizzy.
Some 90 percent of Mindat’s population of 25,000 have fled their homes since junta forces seized the town on May 12.
Currently, military reinforcements are attempting to raid villages sheltering the residents who fled Mindat.
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