At least 88 junta military troops including an acting battalion commander were killed in recent clashes with the People’s Defence Force (PDF) and its allied resistance groups between March 8 and March 12, according to the Ministry of Defence of the National Unity Government (NUG).
The statement released by the NUG’s Defence Ministry said the PDF and allied resistance groups, including the Karenni Revolution Union (KRU) and the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF), clashed with junta troops in Hprauso, Hpekon and Pinlaung townships resulting in the deaths of at least 88 junta troops. It was also reported that 10 or more junta soldiers were injured while six surrendered.
At around 7 am on March 8, the PDF, allied groups clashed with the junta military and its allied Pa-O National Army, the armed wing of the Pa-O National Organization, near Khaung Ei and Shwe Pyi Aye villages in Hpekon Township on the border between Shan and Kayah states.
In another incident, the PDF attacked a convoy with land mines in Hprauso Township on March 9, killing one soldier and injuring several more.
The following day, a column of about 50 junta military troops approached Lone Pyi village in Pinlaung Township at around 5 pm and clashed with the PDF’s Napyitaw Battalions 804 and 805 and their KRU allies. Fighting lasted for more than an hour until the junta sent in a helicopter gunship. The PDF and resistance groups were able to make a successful retreat.
On the same day, over 300 junta and allied PNO troops were deployed to other villages in Pinlaung Township. The PDF and allied groups launched a defensive attack, killing one soldier.
On March 11, a clash broke out in the east of Hpekon Township and at least 29 junta troops, including Lieutenant Colonel Lin Lin Tun, the acting commander of Light Infantry Battalion 423, were killed. Five other junta troops, including a column commander, surrendered to the PDF.
“Even though the junta military is using massive force and launching offensives in southern Shan State and Kayah State, the People’s Defence Force (PDF) and allied resistance groups are strongly defending and protecting,” the NUG’s MOD said in the statement.
Clashes also occurred in Kayah and southern Shan State in the days that followed. A commando unit under the Karenni Army (KA), the armed wing of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), launched an attack on a base of the junta’s Infantry Battalion 135 on March 16. At least three junta troops were killed and the KA commandos were able to seize arms, ammunition and communication equipment.
On March 18, fighting continued all day between a combined Karenni resistance force and junta troops as they approached a KA base near Ta Nee Lae village in Demoso Township, Kayah State.
“Junta troops from Light Infantry 513 approached our base so we had to defend ourselves. At least five of the troops from their side were killed. They then retreated with many injured,” said a member of the KA in Demoso.
At around 6 am on March 20, three columns of junta troops deployed to Daw Ngan Khar village, Demoso Township clashed with DMO local PDF and KNDF. Three junta troops were killed, according to the NUG’s MOD.