Myanmar junta soldiers and People’s Defense Forces (PDF) fought fierce battles for three days in Sagaing Region’s Kale Township, as military regime troops attempted to take control of a main road linking Kale with Gangaw Township in Magwe Region.
The clash broke out on August 2 around two miles south of the center of Kale Town after resistance forces intercepted junta soldiers attempting to establish a tactical command base in Htaukkyant Village, Ko Ei Soe from Kale-PDF told The Irrawaddy.
Around 200 junta troops left Kale Town on August 2 to travel to Htaukkyant, but were intercepted by resistance forces in Tharyargone Village near Kale Technological University, he added.
“They haven’t withdrawn, neither will we retreat unless we run out of ammunition,” Ko Ei Soe told The Irrawaddy on Friday. The current situation is still unknown.
PDFs from Kale are fighting regime forces alongside the Chinland Defense Force (Kalay, Kabaw, Gangaw).
Junta soldiers deployed at Kale Technological University and the regional operations command based in Kale Town provided artillery support for their troops, while the regime also airlifted reinforcements and ammunition into the area, said resistance fighters.
Some six Myanmar military infantry battalions are based in Kale.
Kale-PDF said that at least 15 junta soldiers were killed in three days of fighting from August 2 to 4. Three resistance fighters died and 17 others were injured, it added.
On August 4, another 20 junta soldiers died and dozens were injured when PDFs used mines to ambush junta reinforcements coming from Tamu Township, said Kale-PDF.
Following the attack, regime troops raided nearby Yasagyo Village, detaining some villagers. On Friday, Kale-PDF reported that three villagers were killed in Tharyargone Village and another 30 detained as potential human shields.
“I heard that junta troops have been looting houses in Yasagyo and taken away the belongings of residents in 12-wheeled trucks,” said a Kale resident.
Since the clashes, Kale-PDF has called on locals to avoid traveling on the Kale-Gangaw road.
A resistance fighter on the frontline said there was no face-to-face fighting on August 5. However, junta troops were still in Tharyargone Village which was surrounded by PDF fighters.
The regime has issued no reports about the fighting in Kale. The Irrawaddy was unable to confirm junta casualties independently.